Alive and Well
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
But maybe the most important reason why globalization is
alive and well post-9/11 is that while pampered college
students and academics in the West continue to debate about
whether countries should globalize, the two biggest
countries in the world, India and China -- who represent
one-third of humanity -- have long moved beyond that
They have decided that opening their
economies to trade in goods and services is the best way to
lift their people out of abject poverty and are now focused
simply on how to globalize in the most stable manner.
Some prefer to go faster, and some
prefer to phase out currency controls and subsidies
gradually, but the debate about the direction they need to
go is over.
''Globalization fatigue is still very
much in evidence in Europe and America, while in places
like China and India, you find a great desire for
participation in the economic expansion processes,'' said
Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Congress Party's top economic
adviser. ''. . .
Even those who are suspicious now want
to find a way to participate, but in a way that manages the
risks and the pace.
So we're finding ways to 'glocalize,'
to do it our own way. It may mean a little slower growth to
manage the social stability, but so be it. . . .
I just spent a week in Germany and had
to listen to all these people there telling me how
globalization is destroying India and adding to poverty,
and I just said to them, 'Look, if you want to argue about
ideology, we can do that, but on the level of facts, you're
just wrong.' ''
That truth is most striking in
Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley, where hundreds of
thousands of young Indians, most from lower-middle-class
families, suddenly have social mobility, motor scooters and
apartments after going to technical colleges and joining
the Indian software and engineering firms providing
back-room support and research for the world's biggest
firms -- thanks to globalization. Bangalore officials say
each tech job produces 6.5 support jobs, in construction
''Information technology has made
millionaires out of ordinary people [in India] because of
their brainpower alone -- not caste, not land, not
heredity,'' said Sanjay Baru, editor of India's Financial
Express. ''India is just beginning to realize that this
process of globalization is one where we have an inherent
Taking advantage of globalization to
develop the Indian I.T. industry has been ''a huge win in
terms of foreign exchange [and in] self-confidence,'' added
Nandan Nilekani, chief executive of Infosys, the Indian
software giant. ''So many Indians come and say to me that
'when I walk through immigration at J.F.K. or Heathrow, the
immigration guys look at me with respect now.' The image of
India changed from a third-world country of snake charmers
and rope tricks to the software brainy guys.''