China, India and the US – Fight for the Future Begins at Midnight

Posted on December 31, 2009


While we here in the US look forward to a ball drop in Times Square this evening, for the other shoe to drop on Wall Street, China Daily and the Asian Times carried articles with self-congratulation about past success, and confidence for future prospects.

China Daily:

A triumphant decade

(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-31 07:50

Ten years back, at the threshold of the new millennium, we fidgeted with the rest of the world, wondering not only what immediate difference the “millennium bug” would make, but also what the world would look like at the new decade.

Today, as we bid farewell to the first decade of the new millennium, many, if not all, of those question marks have found answers. With some in the West labeling the past 10 some years as the least desirable in their countries’ recent histories, the Chinese feel dramatically different. Our people are actually among a pretty small few the world over who are embracing 2010 full of confidence and hopes.

Worldwide, stories about China have surrounded the sizzling economy. This has hardly changed 10 years into the new millennium. With 150 million carrying on a day-to-day struggle for subsistence, our people, from top national leaders to the men and women from rural communities, understands and accepts the centrality of economic concerns in this country.
The prospect of taking the place of German to become the world’s largest exporter is of course something to celebrate. That is yet another proof that our economy has fared so far so good through the sweeping global financial meltdown. But changes here have reached far beyond.The increasing weight of the individual on the national political balance far outweighs accessibility of such previous “luxuries” as private vehicles. That began since the new generation of national leaders took over the helms in 2002. From their “people first” proposal to “scientific outlook on development”, the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao duet have maneuvered a strategic fine-tuning, if not turn, in our approach to development. That people’s livelihood has finally found its way into the policy limelight is nothing short of revolutionary. [Find full Article]

“Next door” to the triumphant Chinese, the Asian Age put forth the case that in India,  a decade of extraordinary growth is the path to even greater future triumphs.

2000-09: The decade that was India’s

Arun Kumar

Washington

Dec. 30: Calling it “The Decade That Was India’s”, a leading US daily says India’s ability to make the success of the last 10 years the norm across regions and industries, “could well pave the way for an Indian century.”

“Nobody knew what would happen when 1999 ended. Would computer systems crash and paralyse machines, power lines, lights, life as we know it?” the Wall Street Journal said recalling how the world turned to India to take on the dreaded Y2K bug.

“This was the decade that defined India — and India defined. Think back to the mid-1990s, as software services entrepreneurs assure me, and Americans didn’t know India at all,” the leading US financial daily said.

“Ten years later, the world is in panic mode again -and some economists think India will come to the rescue yet again.”

“This time, it’s from the evolution of that nascent outsourcing model into the engine of a robust global player that can do more than serve US companies; Indians can buy their products, too,” the Journal said noting, “The bookends of this decade are significant for India and its place in the new economic order.”

“The backlash against outsourcing remains a very real threat, intensifying amid 10 per cent unemployment in the US,” it said. “But outsourcing — and the idea that companies must operate cheaply, efficiently, globally — has come to be an accepted, inescapable reality.”

A majority of Americans believe the US is in decline, the daily said citing a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll from earlier this month.

“A plurality went as far as to say the US will be surpassed by China in 20 years as the world’s top power.”

“India can hardly be far behind, given its population projected to exceed China and its democratic form of government,” the Journal said noting, “That would have been unthinkable in 1999.”

An OP ED in the New York Times was decidedly different in tenor and tone:

2000-09: The decade that was India’s

Op-Ed Contributor

Times to Remember, Places to Forget

Published: December 30, 2009

Cambridge, Mass.

TONIGHT, millions of Americans will raise a glass, sing the only three Scottish words they know and remember the past with an ineffable blend of sadness and delight. Nostalgia has all the hallmarks of a universal emotion, and it is only natural to assume that the yearning for “auld lang syne” that was shared by our grandparents will someday be shared by our grandchildren.

But maybe we’ve reached nostalgia’s end. “Nostalgia” — made up of the Greek roots for “suffering” and “return” — is literally a longing for the places of one’s past. And lately, it has become harder and harder to find things to miss about America’s places.

Downtowns were once collections of local businesses that lured us with claims of uniqueness: “Try our homemade pies,” their signs read, or “Best jazz selection in town.” Today, those signs have been replaced by familiar corporate logos that make precisely the opposite claim, promising us the same goods arranged in the same way as they are in every other place. The banks and burritos and baristas on one city block are replicated on the next — and in all the malls, in all the cities, in all the states. Americans can drive from one ocean to the other, stopping every day for the same hamburger and every evening at the same hotel. Traveling in a straight line is no longer much different than traveling in a circle.

When the industrial smoothing of our nation’s once-variegated edges has been fully accomplished, Americans may no longer need to gather at midnight on the last day of the year to yearn for their yesterdays, because wherever they are they will see the landscapes of their youths.

This is a grim future in deed.  There is no vibrant concept to drive us forward, no optimism anywhere.

And the future for my state is not much better:

New York Times Editorial

Failed State

Published: December 30, 2009

New Yorkers should be appalled at their failed state government, particularly their corrupt and clueless Legislature. Scandal and irresponsibility have been Albany’s creed for decades. This year, the gang added another outrage to the list: complete fiscal incompetence.

The only solace is this: The entire Legislature is up for re-election in 2010. And unless there is a sudden turnaround — and, so far, we see few signs of it — New Yorkers have no choice but to vote out all the lawmakers and start over.

Well we can all look forward with optimism about the homeland: As far as we know, we are not going to war with Canada or Mexico. Can China and India say that?

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