To whom will the 21st century belong- a new perspective
There is a lot of argument of who this century belongs to? India or China. I have found an alternative view in this, which I feel would provide you with a new perspective. I have found a strange similarity between today’s India & China with that of 19th century Germany & France. From the time of the collapse of Charlemagne’s empire, France had been the dominant power on continental Europe. It’s biggest advantage was demography. According to estimates till the beginning of 19th century, France was the 3rd most populous nation on Earth after China & India. However, after the French revolutionary wars & the Napoleonic wars in the period 1789 to 1815, France lost a lot of young men in war. In terms of proportion of population it lost more than Germany in world war one. It was a loss that France failed to recover from. On the contrary Germany rapidly industrialised in the 19th century since the formation of Zollverin & especially after reunification in 1871. It’s population also grew rapidly with that till by the end of the 19th century it had overtaken France & Britain in population size. It became the dominant power in Europe not just through industrialization, but also by winning the demographic war. What has all this got to do with 21st century India & China. Well, on one hand India’s population is growing rapidly with no politician or political party with the guts to control it( As they fear that they would loose popularity & hence the elections), on the other hand, China keeps a tight lease on its population with its one child policy being a dictatorial state. Some predictions even show that India would overtake China in population by 2022. While this is concerning initially- that bigger & younger population mean more unemployment & more people to feed, cloth & house, there is also a brighter side to this. After all, India too is rapidly industrializing & bigger population means bigger market & economy. India may just actually make this century hers by winning the demographic war against China, just like Germany did with France in the 19th century.
But there is also another similarity that we can compare today’s China-India situation. In the 19th century, Germany grew partly due to the discipline that it was provided with by the dictatorial states that existed in Germany at that time- biggest example is that of Prussia. On the other hand there was another nation that took a great part in this second industrial revolution that was taking place in the 19th century. This nation was United States of America- a chaotic democracy with lots of corruption & indiscipline. But by the end of the 19th century, it was not this disciplined, militarised dictatorial Germany that won the race. It was the USA that emerged as the largest economy on the planet thereby paving the way of the 20th century to be the American century. What could possibly be a more closer example of dictatorial, disciplined China & chaotic, free India? These examples show us that what matters is who is going to win in the long term. India may not overtake China in 5–10 or even 20 years, but in the long run it will be the winner.