en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_as_an_emerging_superpower#/media/File:Flag_of_India.svg; Public Domain
After a visit abroad, one sees your own country in a different light. One is also reminded of the rise and fall of great powers, and where your own country sits on its own trajectory. Being an American, it was once impossible to think of America not being top dog, but all things (top universities, countries, cultures) that have a beginning, have a high point, and an end. The reign of currencies that have been used for trade has undergone a typical transition, as mentioned previously here, and so, as we print our way into the poor house, other nations may rise. So, who might be next as a world leader?
One possibility of a next superpower is India. Visiting there a few weeks ago, there were a few things that reminded me of America 100 years ago. Provided the environment doesn’t completely go out of whack (which is more likely than not), India might be at least a bigger player on the world stage down the road, at least for a short while.
In one city I visited, it was industrial as hell. Dust on the roads; massive traffic. Cows roaming the streets, of course, and quite a few poor folks. Trash was everywhere. Every place that had any sort of valuable infrastructure had a guard at the front, and a wall/gate surrounding the property. In another city, parts were modern and clean, however, pollution was still endemic, and the waterways looked horrible. The analogs to the ugly industrial America of a century ago (think mill towns, and rivers like the Merrimack, Hudson, Charles, and Ohio) were clear. What might make India a bigger player down the road has been discussed in a few places, although there are a few detractors on this, including from its own citizens. The things that struck me as in India’s favor:
- English is taught and understood in many important places. They could easily take over a good bit of America’s business, and might integrate themselves with Europe.
- The population is young.
- They’ve got nominally a democratic system. Yes, they do lock up politicians sometimes, but the trappings of a parliament, civil service, and so on are probably closer than China’s.
- They’ve got nukes, put more than a few spacecraft in orbit (and was close to being the 4th nation to softland on the moon), aircraft carriers (one now, and two on the way), and a large economy (3rd in the world in PPP, purchasing power parity).
- Rightly or wrongly, they’ve got a good bit of nationalism. There was a bit of ‘I Love India’ on the back of trucks, as well as crossed Indian flags on cab dashboards (no different than you might see in the US).
I’m no geopolitical expert, but there’s a good case to be made for India. What do you think?
Next week – the NEXT next superpower, from a perhaps unlikely place.