There has been an interesting issue raised (Contest of the Century ECONOMIST vol.396 no. 8696 August 21, 2010 page 9 and A Himalayan Rivalry in the same issue page 17) involving India and China.  The two countries are immense, growing and neighbors. 

One issue is the question of a war.  Perish the thought.  Those two giants could deliver more death and destruction to each other in a few days than all the wars of the 20th century.  No, I don’t have a reference on that. 

Less grizzly to contemplate is that fact that until 1800 the two combined represented half the world’s economy.  China has just become a bigger economic power than Japan.  There cannot be many things in the way of the two giants once again having half the world’s economy. 

The key reason, other than common sense and a will to live, that should encourage the two to cooperate is the fact that India’s strength is in services while China’s is in manufacturing.  That could be a potent combination indeed.  The combination has been dubbed “Chindia.”  The big question is whether they can learn to play nicely together.  That matters to everybody, mostly to them and almost as much to others in the region.  And the world is all one region now. 

One sentence stood out:

“Demography is not destiny.” 

What?  Well what else is destiny?  Why was ancient Egypt so stable?  Geography dictated a tight gene pool and lots of babies.  What made Greece glorious?  They managed to keep having babies for a long time after becoming a sophisticated society and a great power.  What made Rome grand?  When they ran out of babies, which was often, they just marched off and started a war so they could grab some more.  What let England produce the Industrial Revolution?  Rich and powerful people continued to have babies.  Why did Europeans sweep across North America to the disadvantage of the Indians?  Europeans had more babies. 

I think I’ll send yet another squawk to the magazine and tell them that.

Anyway, India has many babies.  China has few.  Expect that to have consequences. 

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