I am forever catching-up on dated reading material – week-old newspapers, month-old magazines, and books started last season and set aside to plow-through book-club books which I have a habit of reading at the last-minute. I’m always late, always rushing, always chasing… happily!
On top of my pile this week was an old Economist magazine (October 2) with an article about India. There wasn’t much new in it that I hadn’t heard or read before – but I thought that some of the information might interest those of you who don’t live and breathe India.
Assuming that the Economist’s statistics and facts are correct:
India’s growth will start to outpace China’s in three to five years and it will continue to grow faster than any other large country for the next 25 years.
1. Demographics – It has a large and growing working-age, English-speaking population. And…
2. Economic Reform – There’s lots of energy and momentum for commercial growth following years of debilitating tariffs and impenetrable licensing. Now you have companies that compete globally and domestically: Tata motors which makes 2-thousand dollar cars for Indian buyers but they also own Jaguar and Land Rover; Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel firm; and Bharti Airtel, a mobile phone company with over 130 million customers in India alone and a growing market in Africa.
And there’s a vibrant and creative domestic market: LG Electronics alone had annual sales of 3-billion dollars last year and sales rose a whopping 30-percent in the first seven months of this year. LG succeeds by adjusting its gadgets to local tastes: Refrigerators have more vegetable drawers for vegetarian customers; TV’s are made with especially strong speakers because Indian’s like their TVs loud; they have voice activated washing machines for the growing number of middle class families who often hire illiterate maids; And how brilliant is this: It designs its products to handle fluctuating electrical currents because electricity doesn’t flow consistently here – it surges and seizes. Also, LG wraps its products in extra tough packaging to protect them from India’s rough roads during transport.
The picture isn’t all rosy:
Infrastructure is in terrible shape or doesn’t exist at all and it’s difficult to move goods across the country. Many rural roads aren’t even paved and there are lots of checkpoints and shakedowns between cities.
The workforce may be young but it’s uneducated and unskilled. India’s adult literacy rate is only 66-percent compared to China’s 93-percent. This means that there aren’t enough skilled builders, electricians, plumbers, etc… to work on improving the poor infrastructure. AND, if there were – corruption is so endemic that “it threatens to undermine the moral legitimacy of capitalism itself…”
Not to end on a negative quote, the article concludes: “India’s democracy may confer long-term benefits. It is not just that Indians can say what they please without having tanks rolled over them, it is also that India can change governments without a revolution. In the long run, that may offer a better guarantee of the stability that businesses crave.”
I’m running the Delhi Half Marathon tomorrow and I’ve listed my running songs (in the column to the right) for my friends who like to share new tunes for exercising. One of my favorites in this line-up is “Rock Star”. I can’t listen to it without laughing. (Alan, I have to admit to dedicating it to you!) My theme song (If Today Was Your Last Day) is full of cliches but there’s nothing better than a string of clichés and a good beat to pick up the pace. S.E.X. says what it needs to. I’m hoping to finish between songs 25 and 27 IF all goes well. One never knows…
This would be my (just) 8-year-old son lifting my 46-year old, six-foot-one husband:
I’m not usually a Lady Who Lunches but I did indulge on this particular day. This is Kiran and her streak is even more pronounced than mine:
Lala was in the school play – can you find my little dolphin?