A century of change

One hundred and two years ago, the King Emperor was crowned in Delhi. At that time, the sun never set on the British Empire and the map of the world was covered in red, the colour of British Raj, everywhere. That was the high point of empires, though few could have foreseen it. The rest of the Twentieth Century witnessed various revolutions: the demise of empires—German, Russian, Ottoman, Belgian, Dutch, French and British; the rise and defeat of fascism; and the rise and collapse of Bolshevism.

It has also seen the rise of Asia in a way no one could have envisaged in 1911 despite the then recent victory of Japan over Russia. Now, India and China are powers which attract leaders from around the world coming for trade and investment. Even as late as the 1960s, Left-wing doctrine held that western monopoly capitalism will never allow the Third World to develop. The answer was to reject capitalism and adopt socialism. Many fell for that ideology. China did for a while but escaped to become the second largest economy in the world. India has not yet quite escaped socialist delusions so it is hobbling along behind China.

The arrival of David Cameron hot on the heels after Francois Hollande shows the transformation the world has gone through. Western world is stuck with a geriatric capitalism, ageing population and large debts. It faces a stagnant decade of near zero growth rate and is desperate for new markets since selling to each other is no longer profitable. Their welfare states are unsustainable and the political system in Europe as in the USA faces the challenge of paying off debts while at the same time sharing the burden of adjustment in a fair way.

China, India and Asia as a whole are pulsating with innovative dynamic capitalism as are the Latin American nations Brazil, Chile, Mexico. After decades of misery, sub-Saharan Africa is suddenly coming on the scene as a fast growing region. All these regions have a young population, save a lot and work hard. The future belongs to them.

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