India must seize the unfathomable opportunity

Tapan Misra

Crying headline indicates the inevitable staring at us, Indians desirous to be part of global workforce. 2018 to 2020 saw two events which are going to redefine the contours of global politics and economy.

The first event was invasion of western world by hungry, destitute but culturally arrogant, zealot refugees, who almost threatened to shatter the cultural and demographic tapestry of many countries. Western world, still liberal in views, were responding confusedly. Ultimately they started shading blinding liberalism with transparent reality and started bolting their doors half heartedly. Then came an invasion of infected workers and travellers from distant land, raining death, misery and pandemics, destroying economy, bringing real hunger at their door step.

The invasion was sudden, envisaged in cinematic imagination but never believed to be a remote possibility, threatening to gobble up countries’ economies at throw away prices. A spectre of subjugation of free world through stock markets and dominance of company boardrooms has alredy started haunting the nations. Unheard of. History of Lord Clive repeating in much much larger scale. Student is proving to be better than teachers.

With break up of Soviet Union in early 1990s, a five decade long rivalry of two cold war opponents came to an end. Two political philosophies, masquerading as torch bearers of two philosophies of social economy, given birth in two institutions of colonial Britain, kept the world in throes of nuclear war. Adam Smith triumphed over Karl Marx. Finally free market won the proxy wars and suddenly a phase of gigantic boom with large-scale multi national manufacturing facilities and multi racial work force engulfed world economy. A great boon for consumers worldwide and also many piggyback small economies.

I guess the two events, just shattered the trust factor binding the global economic infrastructure. Suddenly we are facing the emergence of mentality of tribal dominance hidden under veneer of wealth generation and consumption based society and nations, more and more indignant to notion of national borders.

The present corona crisis, afflicting many countries, both rich and poors, is going to end sooner or later. It will be hazardous to guess clairevoyance of the end of doom’s day with definite time table. But history teaches that nature has a way of leveling human ego, folly and arrogance with unforeseeable vengeance. Nature’s fury subsides when it has extracted its price and human being has learnt new way of battling the fury.

At the end of the tunnel, I see emergence of new economic groupings, may be two dominant ones, bonded by the fact of equal suffering and hence equal desire of retribution and following similar way of administering the nation. Multinational manufacturing and work force sharing will be more and more borderised. However, trade will remain multinational but with restricted consumer access, solely governed by mutual benefits. It will be restricted globalisation with emphasis on nationhood and desire of maintaining cultural integrity as a bullwork and safeguard against future attempts. Immigration will be viewed with tribal suspicion and academia and work force will be restricted to national boundaries.

It will be a boon to countries like India, long suffering from brain stealing. I see the future will be focussed on building Indian economy with Indian industry with competitive and restricted global consumer access. Investment funding will be cheaper as country will be eager to build up the economy from steep U curve. It will be a political urgency to build the economy the fastest again. Otherwise the Government will drown itself in quagmire of voter distrust. Government will be forced to be responsive to building and growing new industrial endeavours. It will call for brain and innovation. I believe, it will usher in a great start up culture. In fact, lack of job opportunities abroad for brainy students will be a boon. It will force and inspire our engineers, scientists, doctors to look for avenues to bring innovation in the quest of wealth. A great opportunity, provided our political class rise up to the occasion. We need to rise. If we fail, we will be destined for decades of misery. We all must understand that this crisis is presenting an unfathomable opportunity. As a nation we must seize it.

The author, Tapan Misra, is a distinguished Scientist. Presently he is Advisor at Space Headquarters, Department of Space, Bengaluru.

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