Roach on China vs India

SeekingAlpha quotes Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley:

If India is to services as China is to manufacturing, what role does that leave for the high-cost developed world? Down the road, if India also succeeds in pushing into manufacturing while China makes successful forays into services, the same question becomes all the more threatening to the worlds major industrial economies. Protectionism is the biggest risk in all this. IT-enabled globalization is pushing economic development into manufacturing and services at a breakneck pace. Moreover, IT-enabled connectivity has increasingly transformed once non-tradable services into tradables and has moved rapidly up the value chain and occupational hierarchy in doing so. The result is a mounting sense of economic insecurity in the developed world that has become a lightning rod for political action that, unfortunately, has unleashed an increasingly worrisome protectionist backlash.

China and India represent the future of Asia and quite possibly the future for the global economy. Yet both economies now need to fine-tune their development strategies by expanding their economic power bases. If these mid-course corrections are well executed and there is good reason to believe that will be the case China and India should play an increasingly powerful role in driving the global growth dynamic for years to come. With that role, however, comes equally important consequences. IT-enabled globalization has introduced an unexpected complication into the process a time compression of economic development that has caught the rich industrial world by surprise. Out of that surprise comes a heightened sense of economic security that has stoked an increasingly dangerous protectionist backlash. This could well pose yet another major challenge to China and India learning how to live with the consequences of their successes.

Reservation in Education

The Economist writes that the Indian government’s decision to reserve 27% seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in education institutions is “a quarrel less about educational opportunity than political opportunism.”

The government’s determination to extend reservations can be blamed on politics. Some close to the prime minister scent an effort by Arjun Singh to embarrass his boss, whose job he is widely reckoned to think should be his. Others see it as a concerted bid by the Congress party to win votes in India’s caste-ridden largest state, Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next year. Either way, the benefits for those justifiably angry at the deprivation and discrimination they suffer in India are likely to be marginal.

Next week’s Tech Talk will feature a series of columns by Atanu Dey on this issue.