July 30, 2007


RISE AND SHINE - Urban, industrial and commercial India since 1991 (S.L. RAO, 7/30/07, The Telegraph)

A Kumbhakarna waking in India after sleeping since 1991, would have rubbed his eyes in disbelief. In the shops are apples from Fiji and China, Swiss chocolates, almost all the latest models of cars, cell phones, television, hi-fi equipment, and many consumer products including designer clothes, bags and other such luxuries. Most urban middle-class young men and women go to work, earning good salaries. So do the young from lower socio-economic strata with little education, in malls, multiplexes, fast food restaurants, supermarkets and hotels.

Housing loans at 10 per cent interest, the Sensex at 15,000 and rising, over $200 billion of foreign exchange reserves, the rupee rising every day in relation to the dollar and even other currencies, Indians welcomed as immigrants in most developed countries, India labelled as the new superpower of this century and sharply declining poverty levels make India a different country from what it was in 1991.

The rich and the middle classes are very much better off. But the over-fifty-fives of 1991 are now dependent on the generosity of their prosperous children because their savings are too small for the new higher prices of almost everything. The unorganized sector has more employment than before, but incomes remain low while agriculture has become an uncertain occupation for the many small land-owners.

Many industrialists in 1991 did not recognize that India had joined the world and would never again be an insular economy. Our opening the economy coincided with the revolution in telecommunications, information technology, travel and the growing shortage in the developed countries of people and of skills at affordable costs. Those Indian businesses that did not seize the new opportunities died or disappeared. There were many who did change and developed significant businesses. Some of them became the new barons of the Indian and the world economies.

It's easy enough to understand that the fall of the Iron Curtain liberated Eastern Europe, but less well comprehended that it deprived the "non-aligned" world of the only coherent counter-narrative to the Anglo-American model.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 30, 2007 2:53 PM

It shouldn't be hard to understand. The jailhouse of nations had been the focus of evil in the modern world. Its malice permeated the non-Western world through its Boxer-Leninist varient.

As the Marxist mumbo-jumbo lost its relevance to whole nations of bourgiousie, the arch-jailors sold it to the resentful, to the "wretched of the earth," as a vehicle for their racist reactions.

India has enough wisdom, enough reason, to make decisions about its future independent of its old hatreds.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 30, 2007 3:37 PM

Lou, what's a high fallutin' word for America haters/resenters?

Posted by: erp at July 30, 2007 4:33 PM