The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater. Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyātma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities.
The Bhagavad Gita, circa 776 B.C.E
At a time when there is considerable angst, including in India, about the efficacy of democracy in making people’s lives better in a “Better Than The Joneses'” world on the hyper-drive of capitalist prosperity of double-digit growth rates in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) racing to become the world’s largest economy by 2016 on a purchasing power prosperity (PPP) basis, some facts about the world’s most populous democracy in a land area the size of a third of United States of America can help.
Formed around 322 B.C.E as a Sanskritized Indo-Aryan imperial state in a coup d’etat of the status quo achieved in coordination with Alexander the Great and having reformed to integrate Buddhism into its cultural ethos once the empire was established by Asoka the Great, India had always peacefully integrated diversity beginning with its Aryan Persian and Boudoin Muslim brethren because of Akbar the Great’s Din ilahi and, centuries later, the Anglican English by 1947 when it became independent of British rule through the non-violent civil disobedience of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (this insight has been partially informed as outsider’s European view of India in a graduate political science seminar on global development by Johan Galtung at Univeristy of Hawai’i at Manoa. Galtung’s PhD research at Univeristy of Oslo was on Gandhi.).
India is nearly as old as Israel as a modern democratic state, both created by the British, the history of the countries dating back to the time period of the antecedents of World War I.
Republic is not material in the egalitarian social equality politics of India since the enlightenment of its great epics, the longest in the history of literature, about 400 years before the empire. The purpose of politics is to achieve social equality (nirguna brahmana or shanti; enlightened or sustainable peace) by means of power in a society that evolved from the social stability of Indo-Aryan equal occupational stratification at birth to that of a large but stable society of occupational mobility by education: the Brahmins shared the knowledge of state and society, since independence, to achieve the literalism of the scripture in practice through affirmative action in the 65 years since 1947. United States, conceived as a republic, is still working on getting there since 1763-1789, despite the Civil War from 1861-1865, one person, one vote since 1920, and the civil rights acts of 1964-1965.
At present, India is the world’s 5th largest economy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It will have the largest per capita income by 2050 with about 50-60 trillion dollars in aggregate annual output through sustainable development on an expected population of 1.5 billion people.
The secret sauce of India’s development is two fold: a social tradition of secular faith rooted in the world’s oldest enlightenment and the separation of politics from policy. Though India’s civil service bureaucracy has been inherited from the British, it is uniquely Indian because policy is formed and executed by the mostly non-partisan civil service cadre for the purpose of economic and social stability and the co-equal electoral politics is left to the partisan politicians who are influenced by social (cultural) biases. The Constitution of India, an Anglo-American hybrid, enables political stability grounded in its ancient tradition of civilizational restraint and peace.
By 2050, the footprint of India’s government, without significant changes to its structure, will significantly diminish relative to its economy as government subsidies fall with poverty because of sustainable development (India’s projected poverty rate in 2050 is 22%, about the same as that of America’s current poverty rate). India’s and China’s population growth rates will also fall because of it for per capita incomes to rise, as is the case with all the advanced economies, including Japan.
An important delineating aspect of India’s past, current and future development is the complete absence of protracted warfare in the past 2300 years, making it the singular economy which literally traces very long run economic growth curve with a positive upward slope of 45 degrees over time (in contrast Israel, since Biblical times, has always been at war).
When Europe aspires to be India by 2050, w(h)ither China?
Given the rising geopolitical risks for open societies, including United States, European Union and India, because of China’s growing economic strength and Russia’s authoritarianism, and the impact of both countries on American interests in Middle East and Africa, Transformations expects optimal US policy, in the long term interest of China and the world, in the period 2012-2016 to be the steady to rapid decline in China’s economic influence in favor of building a more open Chinese prosperity.
Democracy works in the world’s most populous uni-racial (Indo-Aryan), multi-lingual, multi-sub-ethnic (since Sanskritization) democracy.
Mutiparty elections to transition China from Hu Jintao and Wen Jia Bao and cooperation of China on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will, therefore, be welcome.