Why America Will Grow
This is a guest post by Jai Vipra. The author is a Master of Public Policy Candidate (2017) at Oxford. The author can be reached at email@example.com.
Too many commentators write about India as if it is an unfathomable land peopled with a peculiarly philosophical alien species. To be sure, this exoticisation and belittling does not happen only to India; it is a common trope applied to anything that isn’t Western, and often anything that isn’t American. I am not a culture warrior who is writing this before my daily shakha meeting, but even as (or particularly as) a bleeding-heart liberal, I find articles such as A Gary Shilling’s “Let Us Count The Ways India Surpasses China” harrowing. India has innumerable problems, but Shilling chooses to write:
“Change comes slowly to India, whose culture is heavily influenced by a Hindu philosophy that doesn’t emphasize urgency. Hinduism teaches that after death comes reincarnation in another form of life, so Hindu followers don’t need to get everything accomplished in this life since they can get more done in later lives.”
And does not stop:
“Say what you want about colonialism, but British control of India for centuries left a vigorous democracy and a parliamentary form of government, which is useful for running a large, diverse country… India also inherited a free press and a legal system from the UK.”
In this alternate universe where the Vernacular Press Act did not exist (even literature that does credit the British with developing a free press in India does so with many caveats and not with sentences that start with “Say what you will about colonialism” as if colonialism were a football team), such articles about America do not get written. And so I decided to fill the gap and write an article about how America has great promise, with tons of context and sensitivity, my enviable knowledge of history rivalled only by my magical reading of every American mind:
Why America Will Grow
The United States of America, a large country in North America, might find it tough to convince the world about its human rights record, but its recovering economy might make it an attractive destination for investment. Notwithstanding reports of torture, discrimination and widespread gun violence across the cities and countryside, investors must not lose confidence in its economic fundamentals.
The Americans are very entrepreneurial, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” being a common local saying. A vastly under-regulated economy, however, has made entrepreneurship and even jobs very risky. In 2011, the citizenry stood up against vested financial interests that were sending the country to ruin, but these eventually fizzled out when entrenched corruption made sure no one truly responsible for a huge economic crisis that took place in 2008 went to prison.
Another challenge is cultural – Americans are influenced by Christianity, which teaches that all sins are forgiven if one accepts the Lord. This explains the high rate of crime in cities, where one cannot walk peacefully at night for fear of being mugged or killed. This has scared many investors from setting up permanent enterprises in America.
However, change is tangible. Say what you will about America’s many skirmishes in Muslim countries, its alliance with some others has brought a refreshing change in culture. Examples such as Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan and Tansu Ciller in Turkey have driven home the lesson that female leadership is possible, and the US is learning quickly. This month marked the selection of Hillary Clinton as the nominee of one of the two large parties in the US. However, Clinton’s status as a previous President’s wife brings up various questions about dynastic politics in this country much criticised for its inequality.
The conclusion we must derive is to wait and watch as America cleans its act. It has great potential to be the top investment destination of the next decade.