Pessimistic Me: What the heck, 61st anniversary! another year passed without much real progress!
Optimistic Me: It’s just been 61 years, we have survived wars, we are an atomic power and we matter in this world. Besides, I think ‘progress’ is a relative term.
Pessimistic Me: Yeah right, we matter! We are matter like liquid, or no, we are gas, we are only in the air. We are not solid when it comes to ideological implementations you see. What we got our nation for and what have we made it now.
Optimistic Me: Maybe you are right, but still, We are a muslim nation, our country holds by this religion. We have 3% population as minority, they are not as unhappy as you see minorities elsewhere. We have at least proved a point of survival and now I think we are on track, plus what was done is past anyway. I think we should create another history from today.
Pessimistic Me: And which track are you talking about btw? Have you seen corruption? Our political turmoil? Latest figures of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment)?
Optimistic Me: Well maybe, we don’t need all the FDI and trust me there are countries which are corrupted and are doing just fine. China and India are examples there. And we are a democracy, and democracies tend to be a little sour until they mature, of course we are not USA, they have had democracy for over two centuries now! Let the time pass by, we’ll be there.
Pessimistic Me: I seriously doubt that.
Optimistic Me: Believe it. Don’t doubt. Maybe we should all stop doubting now. Maybe it is time that we actually take right steps in the right direction, instead of slacking around and finding faults!
Pessimistic Me: For all your Maybes, I still doubt it.
Optimistic Me: So doubter you are. You’ll see when it happens. You’ll see when we change it all for better.
Pessimistic Me: You live in a fool’s paradise!
Optimistic Me: Well, I am just an optimisitc fool then. :-)
So it has been months that I have been reading this book about China and how it is changing the world. Actually the book, which appeared in 2004, now appears out-dated in the face of how rapidly the dynamics of our world are changing.
It is a good read except two major biases which I find in the author’s narrative. The first one being his rigorous American perspective of looking at things and the second one is the logical gaps in turning numbers into conclusion but nevertheless, it does enlighten upon how 21st century belongs to China.
I have been thinking, what are the parallels which one could draw between China and other developing countries like India, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey etc. Yes, China has a large population but its population density (i.e. population divided per unit area) is less than both India, Pakistan. So it is not necessarily the ‘number of people’ which is helping them rule the economic world, because clearly other countries have encompassed greater number of people in their geographical area.
Then the other thought kicks in: Oh it must be lack of corruption. But the Corruption Perception Index from Transparency International suggest that businesses perceive Chinese public sector to be equally corrupt to India’s and more corrupt than Turkey’s, Romania’s (East Europe), Tunisia’s (North Africa) and Cuba’s.
China’s courts are infamous for their not-so-business-friendly rulings, they have so many human rights issues that the west is never short of them to highlight some.
Then what is it that makes China so different?
1. It is the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). China today comes #5 only after USA, UK, Hong Kong and Germany in ranks of countries attracting most FDI and do consider that Hong Kong is basically China itself as the money flowing in there is more likely to affect China.
2. The sheer optimism that government tries to infuse in people. Their media, on the instruction of government, talks of “happy stories about good people”. They execute a whole propaganda campaign to keep their rural farm workers and mobile factories (migrant workers who have moved to cities in pursuit of better lives, mind you there are 200 million of them as per some estimates!) up on work and be lured for better things to happen.
3. Their serious attitude about actually being big. I have worked at a place where I used to interact with our Chineese contractor, those people used to work for 14 hours a day and never cried to client – which in this case was us- about it. I spoke to one of them about how their country is progressing and the person was entirely aspirant for seeing China on the top of world stage.
So it is boils down to money, optimism and the will to act. That’s what is making China.