India and China Emerging as Superpowers Essay

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International Relations

Emerging Superpowers: India & China

The global integration of China & India reflects their emergence as powerful modern economies.

From a global perspective, China's impact is truly staggering. (Harris, 2005)

Globalization has been a force for good. China and India are its greatest success stories. (Bandow, 2011)

Some avid movie goers or comic book readers are already familiar with the term "superpower." There are also a number of informed economists, political scientists, and trend forecasters that understand the term "superpower" in a different sense. This word gets thrown around in the press and in the media quite often when referring to countries of distinctive power and influence beyond a specific level, which is not often described or qualified. This begs the average person to ask, what is a superpower and what makes a country a superpower? For the purposes of this paper, the focus will be limited with respect to this term. The paper will assess and consider the applicability of the term superpower with regard to two specific countries, recently deemed potential superpowers by various experts & pundits around the world: India & China. The paper endeavors to understand how such a change to these countries came about, what becoming a superpower means for these countries, and what their potential superpower-dom means for the greater world.

Each country is considered a superpower for distinctive reasons indigenous to that specific country, while at the same time there are characteristics that both countries share that qualify them as emerging superpowers. There is no doubt that despite what label India & China have on them, they are two of several countries that have changed the economic, educational, technological, and in some ways, social landscapes of their own countries and the world in general.

The paper contends that if these countries continues on the upward swing of development in key areas that affect the global market economy, they will grow and be regarded as world superpowers within several years to a few decades. Growing into a country that is a superpower is not a spontaneous endeavor; it takes time and a great deal of factors to work in the country's favor and be in sync. A culmination of factors in conjunction with fortuitous circumstances have set the right stages for India & China to emerge as superpowers on par with the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and Japan, for example.

A country that is a superpower retains a great deal of power and influence, across an array of areas and industries. Superpowers function within an international and often in the 21st century, global system of economic and cultural interaction or integration. One such power that superpower countries retain is the ability to project and protect its power, whatever that may be, varying upon the country in question, on a worldwide scale. Superpowers exert their economic, industrial, cultural, and technological influence around the world, presumably, anywhere in order to maintain that power and to protect the interests that keep that country a superpower.

With respect to the field of international relations, there are countries that are small power, countries that are great powers, and countries that are superpowers. Therefore, such terms provide additional context within which the reader can engage and evaluate the ideas and points presented. Superpowers additionally have the power to project this influence, whatever it may constitute, around the world and in multiple parts of the world simultaneously, such as the case with the United States, for example, who often engage in multiple military actions at once as well as exert cultural influence with music, film, and food around the world at all times. The term superpower is very closely related to the topic of military power and history as well.

The term superpower is relatively young. Professionals in international relations have come to a consensus that the term superpower emerged into the lexicon post World War II. Due to the events and the outcome of WWII, the United States of America was regarded as the first superpower country on Earth. The concept of superpower is only several decades old, yet this concept went from a somewhat obscure term and idea, to a significant concept that grows more prominent with respect to a country's international reputation and success in the global market economy. These are reasons why it is essential to understand what a superpower is, what it means, how it means, and what the local & international implications are for superpower status.

The sizable populations of both China & India have worked in their favor towards achieving superpower status. In China's case, the movements of their population have national and international implications for China's rise into superpower-dom, which for some experts, have been able to predict and track for decades. For example, just as with other superpower industrial revolutions, and consequently cultural and economic revolutions, a strength of a country can be determined by the rural population.

The massive expansion of the Chinese economy is being driven by the huge movement of the rural population to the cities, plus an industrial revolution that is transforming China into the centre of world production. Eight hundred million people still live in rural China, but it is predicted that, over the next fifteen years, 250 million will move to urban centres. That is nearly equivalent to the population of the United States. The implications for building the infrastructure necessary to accommodate such a move over such a short period of time are almost incomprehensible. (Harris, 2005,-Page 10)

Within one country, the entire population of the first superpower will migrate into urban areas, changing the nature of urban economics and industries for decades to come. A country's strength need not necessarily be measured in the number of soldiers it has, but how the population is distributed elsewhere, specifically into which industries, can be a far greater strength or at least a strength of equal value of military might and strategy.

The Chinese are well-known for outsourcing labor. In fact, both China and India are countries once considered of the third world, are leaders in cheap labor. There were those who argued against outsourcing cheap labor (relative to superpower wages) for the country that is doing the outsourcing, as well as for the country who is being outsourced. These countries, though in different industries and in differing methods, have made labor a highly viable commodity, making the conditions for outsourced, foreign labor to benefit all parties involved. The Chinese are at the forefront of attracting foreign investment by their appeasing and accommodating business etiquette as well as the incentives they offer foreign investors.

To attract transnationals, the government offers cheap land, low taxes and, when necessary, seven day work weeks. But Chinese officials see this as part of a long-term strategy to higher-value and indigenous-based production. One example of higher-end work is Microsoft's research lab in Beijing, which employs 150 of the best programmers in China. The lab has already developed more than seventy technologies that are used in Microsoft products and two of the lab's previous directors are now vice-presidents at Microsoft's headquarters in Seattle. (Harris, 2005,-Page 14)

With respect to India, this issue is a bit different. India's main insertion into the global economy comes from its rapid advance in information technologies and pharmaceuticals. In addition to their innovations and advancements in education, this fits into a high-end strategy that has attracted much attention, particularly as India became the choice for offshoring for the information technology industry from the United States.

Where India shines is in its outstanding world-class education system in information technology and business. It is estimated that India's middle class has grown to 150 million people. Although, currently, the IT sector only employs 1 million workers, future growth projections predict a rapid rise. U.S. studies show that, within four years, IT outsourcing will be an industry worth U.S.$57 billion per year, employing 4 million people… (Bandow, Forbes, 2011)

This model is the opposite of China's massive integration based on low-wage manufacturing. In fact, India's industrial base lags far behind China's, offering fewer opportunities for foreign direct investment. India's factory wages are low, they are still above Chinese practices. With respect to labor, readers can see how there are similarities between the two emerging superpowers, but critical differences that distinguish them as well. They both offer cheap labor; India's labor is a little cheaper and within limited industries. China also offers cheap labor, and it is the cheapest coming with more incentives and appealing to a wide range of industry investors.

Both countries share other qualities as well. They both are some of the world's greatest producers of film and media. While distribution is necessary to gain superpower cultural influence, quantity, quality, and reputation go very far in the film & media industries. The Chinese are innovators with respect to editing techniques, action choreography, and special effects. India is a leader with respect to art direction, production design, choreography, and scoring. The media…[continue]

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