We are currently reading Parag Khanna’s new book The Second World – Empires and Influence in The New Global Order, the talk of the town these days.
Since we couldn’t wait to do a post on the book, we gave it something like the Washington read (flipping through the index to find what’s of interest). A full review of The Second World will followÂ after we finish reading the book.
Here’s what we uncovered about Parag Khanna’s take on India – India just does not count.
Khanna does not mince words on India:
India is big but not yet important. Outsourcing has made it a leading back office for Western firms, but except for a few segregated twenty-first century oases of development, India is almost completely third-world, most of its billion-plus people living in poverty. (P.276)
There is more criticism.
China has order and one day may have democracy. India has democracy but achieves less because it is chaotic. The link between trade and development that China exemplifies is almost absent in India. Relative to its geographical and population size, India’s government is almost invisibly weak, with a federal budget the size of Norway’s….The difference between India and China is thus not just the time lag between the advents of their current economic reform eras but also a fundamental matter of national organizational ability. Even if India rises, it will be according to Chinese rules. (P.277)
We think Parag Khanna is on the money where his analysis on India is concerned. Despite all the chest-thumping and ceaseless flow of bombast from the country, we do not believe India’s time has come.
Indeed, we remain skeptical that India will ever have a seat on the world stage given its lack of infrastructure, endemic corruption, absence of discipline, huge income inequality and weak political, administrative and judicial institutions. Given these limitations, India is destined – and doomed – to be a vassal state of the big powers, be it USA, European Union, China or some other entity.
As we said earlier, a full review of The Second World will follow later.
By the way, Parag Khanna is said to be completing his Ph.D at the London School of Economics and directs the Global Governance Initiative in the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation.