Has morning arrived in India?

December 31, 2010

Last October, Thomas L. Friedman wrote a thought provoking piece from India for the New York Times entitled It’s Morning in India which he began by first noting how unrealistic French students are to be rioting over a small increase in the pension retirement age when France has already discovered that a 35-hour workweek is impossible in a world where Indian engineers are attempting to work 35-hour days. He then went on to write that many of the Indians he met on his trip to India expressed their concern that America as well seems to be running away from the world it created and their country is adopting. After all, so many American politicians were denouncing immigration, free trade and outsourcing when it was America that had created many of the technologies and free market ideas that led to globalization and a flattening of the world.

Has morning arrived in India
However and a week later after the Democratic party were trounced in the mid-term US elections and lost control of the House of Representatives, President Obama went to India not to bash the country as an American jobs destroyer but to praise the country as an American jobs creator. As the Times of India reported, Obama promoted US$10 billion in trade deals that he says will create 54,000 jobs in the USA (although the Times was quick to note that Economists say that 300,000 new jobs a month will need to be created to put a real dent in a near 10% unemployment rate).

Meanwhile, the Washington Post noted that the deals include the sale of civilian airplanes, military transport aircraft, jet engines and mining equipment. The Post also quoted David Cote, the chairman and chief executive of Honeywell which has 11,000 employees in India, as saying that they operate in India due to the superior engineering that is done there and that he thinks this is not as well understood in both the USA and the developing world as it should be.

Moreover, Obama himself was quoted as dismissing old stereotypes about India being a land of call centers and back offices that steal American jobs while also dismissing concerns about American corporate giants running mom-and-pop Indian stores (no doubt in reference to Wal-Mart) out of business and upending Indian culture. In addition, he promised to remove several Indian space and defense companies from an export controls list that makes it difficult for them to trade with the USA and said he would support India’s membership to four international alliances responsible for regulating trade in biological, chemical, nuclear and missile technology and materials.

Has morning arrived in India? Friedman made the point that many Indians hope morning will arrive soon given the rise of China on one border and a crumbling Pakistan on the other but he also noted that a top Indian official had commented that while even the poorest Indian maid believes that saving a few dollars to get her child English lessons will lead to him or her having a better life, guys in Kansas are worried that they will not be able to pass on their standard of living to their children. Hence, it remains to be seen but President Obama’s promises on his trip to India along with his grudging acceptance of a deal to at least temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts in the hopes of heading off another recession are at least a little encouraging.


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  1. Boeing’s Delays May Stem From Outsourcing Manufacturing & Design | Outsource Portfolio on January 25th, 2011 7:29 am

    […] questions to outsourcing remain at Boeing, an article entitled, ‘Has morning arrived in India?’, there is mention of President Obama’s trip to India for job promotion deals with India, […]

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