Changing Economies Need Changing Mindsets
In his TED talk about Asia’s rise, Hans Rosling predicts that by July 2048, the average Indian person's income will be equal to or greater than the average American's income. Rosling uses graphs, timelines, and statistics taken from the UN to illustrate his point. He initially shows how European occupation of India and China slowed down and even stalled the economic progression of the two nations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Rosling then goes on to reveal how in the past quarter-century the economies of China and India have started booming, with the average income of the two nations increasing almost exponentially. If this economic growth continues at this rate for the next 50 years (which I personally think is implausible, no state or nation has ever done this in the history of mankind), then 36 years from now the average Indian will make as much money as the average American.
To me, this data is astonishing. 36 years from now, when I am [hopefully] still working at the robust age of 52, India could be as developed as the US. I find this incomprehensible, to think that the nation where we export all of our jobs to will become this wealthy. Who knows, maybe 75 years from now India and China will be exporting jobs to the US! Even if Rosling's prediction proves to be 5, 15, or 25 years too soon, India's and China's ridiculous economic growth pace is evident.
I think that it is imperative that we realize how fast India and China are closing the economic gap between them and the US. For me, this data changes my mindset about how I should deal with the people I encounter in Dharavi. I can't interact with them from a position of superiority, because these economic statuses have been proven to be very temporary. It's easy to take for granted the opportunities that we have, but it's even easier to forget that they might not always exist. It's something that we have to keep at the back of heads, something that we must never forget: the tides are changing, and soon the US may very well be considered an "underdeveloped nation" by the rest of the world.
Building upon this, I feel that most of the issues we will address, including education, poverty, health, climate, and community, will need to be addressed under the context of an exploding Indian economy. As India's economy grows, so will these issues; they will only become more important every day. Unfortunately, these issues are already incredibly complicated and intricate, so "solving" them won't be possible within 5 or even 15 years, let alone 3 weeks. However, I hope that my time in Mumbai will help me understand how India's economy is growing, and how these issues are affecting it.
Until next time,