sábado, enero 06, 2007

El modelo indú visto por un indú

Gurcharan Das, un directivo de Procter & Gamble en India, escribió un ensayo interpretando las características del desarrollo indú. Resulta de mucho interés para conocer en detalle la evolución del crecimiento indú, para ver sus debilidades y fortalezas, para compararlo con su vecino y competidor China, y entrever las perspectivas futuras de ambos.
Das indica dos elementos diferenciales de India frente a otros competidores asiáticos: apoyo en el mercado interno propio, y desarrollo basado en buena medida en emprendimientos personales. Ambas características lo diferencian de China, basada en desarrollo estatal y con baja intervención de emprendedores:
Rather than adopting the classic Asian strategy -- exporting labor-intensive, low-priced manufactured goods to the West -- India has relied on its domestic market more than exports, consumption more than investment, services more than industry, and high-tech more than low-skilled manufacturing. This approach has meant that the Indian economy has been mostly insulated from global downturns, showing a degree of stability that is as impressive as the rate of its expansion. The consumption-driven model is also more people-friendly than other development strategies. As a result, inequality has increased much less in India than in other developing nations. (Its Gini index, a measure of income inequality on a scale of zero to 100, is 33, compared to 41 for the United States, 45 for China, and 59 for Brazil.) Moreover, 30 to 40 percent of GDP growth is due to rising productivity -- a true sign of an economy's health and progress -- rather than to increases in the amount of capital or labor.
But what is most remarkable is that rather than rising with the help of the state, India is in many ways rising despite the state. The entrepreneur is clearly at the center of India's success story. India now boasts highly competitive private companies, a booming stock market, and a modern, well-disciplined financial sector. And since 1991 especially, the Indian state has been gradually moving out of the way -- not graciously, but kicked and dragged into implementing economic reforms. It has lowered trade barriers and tax rates, broken state monopolies, unshackled industry, encouraged competition, and opened up to the rest of the world. The pace has been slow, but the reforms are starting to add up.
Das apunta a las debilidades de India: burocracia estatal, leyes laborales inadecuadas, improductividad rural, débil industria.
India is poised at a key moment in its history. Rapid growth will likely continue -- and even accelerate. But India cannot take this for granted. Public debt is high, which discourages investment in needed infrastructure. Overly strict labor laws, though they cover only 10 percent of the work force, have the perverse effect of discouraging employers from hiring new workers. The public sector, although much smaller than China's, is still too large and inefficient -- a major drag on growth and employment and a burden for consumers. And although India is successfully generating high-end, capital- and knowledge-intensive manufacturing, it has failed to create a broad-based, labor-intensive industrial revolution -- meaning that gains in employment have not been commensurate with overall growth. Its rural population, meanwhile, suffers from the consequences of state-induced production and distribution distortions in agriculture that result in farmers' getting only 20 to 30 percent of the retail price of fruits and vegetables (versus the 40 to 50 percent farmers in the United States get).
Sobre la importancia del apoyo en el consumo interno:
For now, growth is being driven by services and domestic consumption. Consumption accounts for 64 percent of India's GDP, compared to 58 percent for Europe, 55 percent for Japan, and 42 percent for China. That consumption might be a virtue embarrasses many Indians, with their ascetic streak, but, as the economist Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley puts it, "India's consumption-led approach to growth may be better balanced than the resource-mobilization model of China."
Sobre las fuerzas que lideran el crecimiento en India:
More than 100 Indian companies now have a market capitalization of over a billion dollars, and some of these -- including Bharat Forge, Jet Airways, Infosys Technologies, Reliance Infocomm, Tata Motors, and Wipro Technologies -- are likely to become competitive global brands soon. Foreigners have invested in over 1,000 Indian companies via the stock market. Of the Fortune 500 companies, 125 now have research and development bases in India -- a testament to its human capital. And high-tech manufacturing has taken off. All these changes have disciplined the banking sector. Bad loans now account for less than 2 percent of all loans (compared to 20 percent in China), even though none of India's shoddy state-owned banks has so far been privatized.
(...) Economic history teaches that the Industrial Revolution as it was experienced by the West was usually led by one industry. It was textile exports in the United Kingdom, railways in the United States. India, too, may have found the engine that could fuel its takeoff and transform its economy: providing white-collar services that are outsourced by companies in the rest of the world. Software and business-process outsourcing exports have grown from practically nothing to $20 billion and are expected to reach $35 billion by 2008. The constraining factor is likely to be not demand but the ability of India's educational system to produce enough quality English-speaking graduates.
Sobre la importancia de los emprendedores en India, y su comparación con China.
The contrast between India's entrepreneur-driven growth and China's state-centered model is stark. China's success is largely based on exports by state enterprises or foreign companies. Beijing remains highly suspicious of entrepreneurs. Only 10 percent of credit goes to the private sector in China, even though the private sector employs 40 percent of the Chinese work force. In India, entrepreneurs get more than 80 percent of all loans. Whereas Jet Airways, in operation since 1993, has become the undisputed leader of India's skies, China's first private airline, Okay Airways, started flying only in February 2005.
El punto débil: la falta de una industria mano de obra intensiva. Esta es la fortaleza de China, que ha sacado a millones de campesinos a las ciudades (ver lo que dice Poch)
What has been peculiar about India's development so far is that high growth has not been accompanied by a labor-intensive industrial revolution that could transform the lives of the tens of millions of Indians still trapped in rural poverty. Many Indians watch mesmerized as China seems to create an endless flow of low-end manufacturing jobs by exporting goods such as toys and clothes and as their better-educated compatriots export knowledge services to the rest of the world. They wonder fearfully if India is going to skip an industrial revolution altogether, jumping straight from an agricultural economy to a service economy. Economies in the rest of the world evolved from agriculture to industry to services. India appears to have a weak middle step. Services now account for more than 50 percent of India's GDP, whereas agriculture's share is 22 percent, and industry's share is only 27 percent (versus 46 percent in China). And within industry, India's strength is high-tech, high-skilled manufacturing.
Debilidades estructurales:
Electric power is less reliable and more expensive in India than in competitor nations. Checkpoints keep trucks waiting for hours. Taxes and import duties have come down, but the cascading effect of indirect taxes will continue to burden Indian manufacturers until a uniform goods-and-services tax is implemented. Stringent labor laws continue to deter entrepreneurs from hiring workers. The "license raj" may be gone, but an "inspector raj" is alive and well; the "midnight knock" from an excise, customs, labor, or factory inspector still haunts the smaller entrepreneur.
La educación, un aspecto particularmente débil:
The government's most damaging failure is in public education. Consider one particularly telling statistic: according to a recent study by Harvard University's Michael Kremer, one out of four teachers in India's government elementary schools is absent and one out of two present is not teaching at any given time. Even as the famed Indian Institutes of Technology have acquired a global reputation, less than half of the children in fourth-level classes in Mumbai can do first-level math. It has gotten so bad that even poor Indians have begun to pull their kids out of government schools and enroll them in private schools, which charge $1 to $3 a month in fees and which are spreading rapidly in slums and villages across India. (Private schools in India range from expensive boarding schools for the elite to low-end teaching shops in markets.) Although teachers' salaries are on average considerably lower in private schools, their students perform much better. A recent national study led by Pratham, an Indian nongovernmental organization, found that even in small villages, 16 percent of children are now in private primary schools. These kids scored 10 percent higher on verbal and math exams than their peers in public schools.
Pero aún más, la salud pública:
The same dismal story is being repeated in health and water services, which are also de facto privatized. The share of private spending on health care in India is double that in the United States. Private wells account for nearly all new irrigation capacity in the country. In a city like New Delhi, private citizens cope with an irregular water supply by privately contributing more than half the total cost of the city's water supply. At government health centers, meanwhile, 40 percent of doctors and a third of nurses are absent at any given time. According to a study by Jishnu Das and Jeffrey Hammer, of the World Bank, there is a 50 percent chance that a doctor at such a center will recommend a positively harmful therapy.
Para Das, el resultado final está abierto...
Still, the poor state of governance reminds Indians of how far they are from being a truly great nation. They will reach such greatness only when every Indian has access to a good school, a working health clinic, and clean drinking water. Fortunately, half of India's population is under 25 years old. Based on current growth trends, India should be able to absorb an increasing number of people into its labor force. And it will not have to worry about the problems of an aging population. This will translate into what economists call a "demographic dividend," which will help India reach a level of prosperity at which, for the first time in its history, a majority of its citizens will not have to worry about basic needs. Yet India cannot take its golden age of growth for granted. If it does not continue down its path of reform -- and start to work on bringing governance up to par with the private economy -- then a critical opportunity will have been lost.

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