China and India's Threat to the West
[Thanks to coverbrowser.com for the image.]
Browne notes that "Napoleon III compared China to a sleeping giant and warned: 'When China awakes, she will shake the world.'"
He makes some fine points that bear listing:
1. China and India are emerging out of their third-world status and growing at a speed up to four times that of the US or UK. Examples: "China is spending 35 times as much on crude oil as it did eight years ago, and 23 times as much on copper. As it builds gleaming skyscrapers on its fields, China alone consumes half the world's cement and a third of its steel."
2. The once-self-sufficient Western World can no longer ignore them.
3. China and India's economies are growing rapidly, while we in the West are struggling with a liquidity and/or solvency and/or monetary-policy crisis that will reduce our current GDP to something approaching zero.
4. Their increased consumption is spurring an impressive surge in demand for all raw materials that is contributing to the rise in commodity prices around the world. (I note here that I believe their exploding demand is only one contributing factor behind those price increases, the other factor being the inflating and consequent loss of credibility of many of the world's fiat [unstandardized] paper currencies.)
5. China and India's cultures put much less emphasis on individual liberty and property rights than we do in the West. Example: "At home, [China] holds mass executions of criminals with bullets in the back of the head while transplant surgeons stand by to harvest their still pulsating organs." They have fewer qualms about siding up to brutal dictatorships, such as those found in Africa and South America in their search for trading partnerships.
6. A long-suppressed nationalistic mood is stirring in China and India, and their present government structures are not unamenable to excessive executive power.
7. China and India are taking advantage of the education prospects offered by the West, but they are no longer emigrating to the same degree as in the past. Business and employment opportunities are emerging at home.
Two things come to mind that Browne may have omitted. First, on the positive side, the Chinese and Indians love and respect gold. I would conjecture that they are more aware of its role in monetary history, and they just may find a way to shore up their currencies so as to make them viable competitors for today's two fiat anchors, the weakening dollar and the untested euro.
Secondly, and on the more negative side, Chinese and Indian cultures' long standing lack of respect for human rights may be a stumbling block to their advancement. Cultural stickiness has a way of undermining the game plans of even the most visionary of ideas, to wit America's loss of a good portion of the moral and political underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution. And our struggle to maintain the ideals of our Founding Fathers may be nothing compared to the battle both India and China will face, as push comes to shove between, on the one hand, those concepts of individual freedom, equality of opportunity, and property rights that are the source of the Western World's three centuries of progress, and on the other hand, the centuries of class repression that have weighted upon these Eastern cultures.
But I am an optimist at heart and can imagine that, with the speed and openness of today's flow of information, they will evolve as fast as they possibly can.