Next Superpower — India or China?
Alternatively, who should Uncle Sam fear the most? Sometimes I think the only reason for asking this question is to instill some fear into the American public and get them to work harder or risk losing their #1 position in the World order. Anybody outside of the US already knows there are multiple ways of measuring ‘success’ though and generally speaking the US does a pretty bad job of being #1 unless we’re counting GDP size. Educational, social, political and human rights lists all show the US languishing. Even those studies that try to merge these metrics together into a quality of life index still demonstrate that the US isn’t perfect.
As I say to my kids though, striving for perfection is the goal in life. You can’t achieve it but striving for perfection will make you better than most. So where does India or China come into this story?
Well I saw this picture online today regarding the collapse of the road in China. People died, albeit very few and the $59,000 compensation per person seems woeful. However, the cause of the collapse was due to stupid engineers.
The road was due to be demolished and they had a trial demolition further up the road, you can just make it out in the distance. They then drilled holes in the road ready for the charges but continued to allow everybody to drive underneath it — even though they’d clearly weakened the structure. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out later that the concrete was below specification too.
The problem with India and China is that their infrastructure is very poor and not just their engineering. Everything, their health programmes, hospitals, social benefits, housing, environmental, judiciary, everything — it’s all poor and needs developing. These countries are way behind Western countries on all of these aspects and when they’ve caught up their economic advantage will no longer exist.
The US played catch up a hundred years ago and chased after the standards of Europe and it did it largely by cutting corners and doing it cheaper. When they caught up they then added more and more social and political infrastructure and the advantage disappeared. I recall reading articles about copyright when Charles Dickens spoke to the US Government and asked them to respect copyright in Europe and not re-print books without authors being compensated. The US turned around and said we have a hungry nation to feed and slammed the door shut. Now that the US is dependent on its own Intellectual Property they’re now insisting the rest of the world complies. You can’t ignore these things when it suits you and then u-turn when it doesn’t, this is hypocrisy and we’re currently seeing something similar with the waterboarding fiasco.
However, when it comes to the next superpower — let them come. By the time they’ve caught up their advantage will have been nullified so we have nothing to really worry about, just the drain on the planet’s resources and how do Western nations try to encourage developing nations not to make the same mistakes we did without being hypocritical. I really wish the UN had more power and was better supported by the world.
Somebody once said that the only difference between a nuclear war and an unclear war is how the UN is used.