On a friend’s suggestion, I have started reading this book the recent economic bestseller ‘Breakout Nations’ by Ruchir Sharma, who is the head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro at Morgan Stanley. It is one of the must reads for any who is interested in knowing how the emerging market economies run and insights on different sociological, demographical, political and industrial parameters required to judge the nation’s growth curve, or like he mentions a nation which can standout in the future of economic parade, the growth survivor Breakout Nation.
As we know, BRICS are more or less the most overhyped term used in the Emerging Market perspectives for businesses and nations. With the dominant force of the US in the world economy diminishing after the 2008 financial crises, there is an optimistic wave among investors and companies to reach out or expand or invest into these economies of the future who are turning out to be major players in the world market.
China: With China fueling over a double-digit growth over few years and dependent on exports, it runs on a constant urge to grow and become the world’s next superpower. Though, its communist political party which has been in power since a long time and has carried a legacy of their ‘its glorious to be rich’ leader Deng Xioping, it still has to keep up with the upcoming investment trends and demographical misfits which they are likely to face after 2014 read [the number of young people joining the workforce is going decrease over the next decade] and the businesses have overshot their manufacturing capacities in terms of labor and capital. The businesses in China run over exports and cheap labor, that might turn against them in the coming decade. With the center Beijing becoming a political powerhouse, the real estate market is on a high and has become unaffordable to the middle class chinese family. The first condition of girls in China for their marriage partners is that the latter should own a house. Though the per capita income is on rise, almost around $4000 and inflation at around 5.5 %, the future of the Chinese economy is not going to be based on the type of government in the center but on the kind of leadership that takes China forward. Owing to the popularity of chinese proverbs, one which their leader in Communist Party of China, Deng Xioping quoted ‘No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat’. They have been good cats in the last three decades, surviving as a cat is going to be important for them in the coming overturns and times.
India: As India’s great hope trick continues to pervade over the minds in the west, it is anticipated to grow in building conscience over its complexity of the Coalition government, State politics, diverse Stock markets (0ver 5000 listed companies in all types of sectors from Energy to Automobile to Pharmacy) and Sadhus of the himalayas. Coming from the crony past of License Raj, a red tape-driven bureaucracy in which licenses were given to only who could manufacture goods but also determining at how much and at what price, to the liberal economy from 1991, it has come a long way in reforms and policies mostly in favor of the nation’s capitalists. As Ruchir Sharma describes India as a high context society that believes deeply in tradition, history, favoring the in-group and hence more vulnerable to corruption. The country has deepened its roots in the world economy and has got a seat in the center-stage of developmental economics. Though the per capita income is around $1400, owing largely to its 1.2 Billion population, the country has witnessed a growth boom between 2003 and 2007, nearly 9% per year. With a large savings environment inherited from its ancestors and a large workforce, the domestic consumption in India is growing every year on year basis. Though, environment of doing business in India is largely dependent on your political connections, there is a lot of divestment from the large companies now ‘outward facing’ who are in-turn expanding their businesses to other emerging markets. Investment by Indian businesses has declined from over 17% of GDP in 2008 to 13% now and overseas operations now accounts to more than 10% of overall corporate profits compared with 2% five years ago. This leads to a spike in inflation. With inflation is around 7-7.5 % and the growth rate in GDP is around 5%, the Indian crony capitalism is at its peak leading to various scams in the past 5 years. With more number of Entrepreneurs and young people joining the workforce, the reforms of the government will help small businesses measure its true value. The Congress led UPA government has disappointed in its second term, but the bucks are on the mighty of the west in the upcoming 2014 elections. Democracy can always overturn and is sociologically unpredictable. As E.M Forster remarked about India, But nothing in India is identifiable, the mere asking of the question causes it to disappear or to merge in something else. If we are able to identify our core roots, we can be an economically sound nation in decades to come, if not a superpower. Definitely, a chance to become a breakout nation.
Will write about Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets in the coming posts.