Bill Bonner

This weekend we went to a wedding reception in Mumbai.

There were beautiful women dressed in brightly colored traditional gowns. Men favored western business suits, but a few sported the outfits usually worn at Hindu weddings…with flowing, colored tunics, baggy white pants and little embroidered slippers.

These were the men and women who are leading the Indian economy in one of the most remarkable growth stories in economic history. India has been upstaged by China. The middle kingdom’s story…from communist rags to capitalist riches in a single generation has a lot of dramatic punch. But India’s story may have a longer run. Because India grows without relying too heavily on exports. And it seems to have a large class of people who may be capable of keeping that growth on track.

“I now work for Blackrock,” said a pretty young woman. “I did my undergraduate work at the University of Texas. Then I worked in New York for a while.

“My sister lives in Georgetown, not far from you…”

Another man was a Sikh, with a turban on his head.

“I’m a metallurgist. I believe in machines. When I have money, I buy machines. I don’t trust stocks…”

It was a Sikh who assassinated Indira Ghandi. The Sikhs – a military caste – were regarded with deep suspicion for a while. Incidentally, the French prohibit people from wearing a turban when they get an official photograph. This is to provide the government with an accurate picture of the person, presumably. But since the Sikhs wear their turbans all the time, a more accurate picture would show what the man looks like with his turban on…

“I went to the University of Nevada,” said one of the guests. “I went to MIT,” said another. “I went to the University of Pennsylvania…”

“I got a patent on…. I’m a biochemist… I’m on the board of… I run a business that…”

One after the other, the résumés were impressive. These are people who have money, training, ambition, manners…

“There is no Social Security in India,” explained a colleague. “And no welfare. We’re too poor for that. People know they have to work to support themselves and their families. And the economy is still an entrepreneurial economy. The people who have money usually run their own businesses. The money is still in the hands of entrepreneurs instead of professional managers. It’s more like the economy in the US during the early part of the 20th century, in other words, than like today’s US economy.”

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success in numerous industries. His unique writing style, philanthropic undertakings and preservationist activities have been recognized by some of America's most respected authorities. With his friend and colleague Addison Wiggin, he co-founded The Daily Reckoning in 1999, and together they co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. His other works include Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Lila Rajiva), Dice Have No Memory, and most recently, Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster. His most recent project is The Bill Bonner Letter.

  • Chris

    Bill, I heard there is some sort of wellfare in India, which actually made impossible to hire a live-in nanny, since the price was not set too high by the govmt.

  • Jay Grewal

    Dear Mr. Bonner,

    As I read your articles daily, I would like first start off by congratulating you on an amazing job. Your articles are very informative. I would just like to correct you on your statement above, the Sikh religion is not a “warrior caste”. Sikhism denounces the caste system in all it forms. The caste system is a integral part of the Hindu religion (the belief that your birth dictates your position and job in society). Sikhism rejects this in all forms, that is one of the reasons why Sikhism is an completely different religion then Hinduism.

  • Jackson Ho

    Mr. Bonner,
    Your headline and main point is that India may have a “longer run” than China. You neither defined what longer run means nor performed a comparative analysis between the two countries to illustrate your point. So you met educated people at a wedding… so what?

  • jollyd

    India is a BIG country.
    India is a very old Culture(s).
    India has social welfare built into it’s family structures.
    India has many farmers committing suicide because they had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if they switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead. (oops)
    India has child laborers.
    India is changing rapidly.
    India is a BIG country.
    More like America in the 1880’s?

  • LAGirl

    I’m jealous, Bonner gets to travel a LOT. Wasn’t he just in Argentina, or was it Paris, or London, or Baltimore? Well, I’m not so jealous about Baltimore!

  • ehappufi

    I once went to a small Bulgarian wedding party. Almost everyone there has a PhD.

    Mr Bonner, there is NO WAY India can compete with Bulgaria!

  • NorthernBoy

    And I know three(!) people from Iceland with Ph.D.’s in engineering. The twenty-first century will belong to Iceland, I predict. It’s not like it could end any worse than it started. Unless it exploded in simultaneous eruptions. That would suck.

Recent Articles

Extra!
Missing Money: What Government Accounting Really Looks Like

Jeff Desjardins

Everyone knows how comically terrible government accounting is, but few people may realize just how bad it's gotten... This infographic shows how trillions of dollars of government money has gone missing money over the last several years. And what's worse... that no one seems to care where it went...


Sage Advice for Bored Investors

Chris Mayer

It's amazing what some people will do out of sheer boredom. Investors, for example, will often throw money around, simply because they have nothing better to do - as if making MORE moves automatically translates to MORE money. Today, Chris Mayer explains why this emotion is so dangerous and how staving it off can save you a ton of money...


The One Word Every IPO Investor Needs to Know

Jonas Elmerraji

When a big company IPOs, investors can hardly contain their excitement. In a flash of exuberance, they throw money at a company they've already decided is worth something... even if the market hasn't made up its mind yet. Today, Jonas Elmerraji explains how one simple word can change the fate of every IPO investor. Read on...


How to Escape Obamacare in One Bold Move

Chris Campbell

Think it's impossible to escape the throes of Obamacare? Think again. Today, Chris Campbell relays the story of one man was able to get out from under the (un)Affordable Care Act, and how you can do it too. Don't see another doctor, take another pill, or shop around for better medical insurance until you read his story...


Let the Alibaba IPO Show You Where the Market’s Headed

Greg Guenthner

For the last few days, the market has been buzzing with excitement over the Alibaba IPO. Well, the day is finally here. And while some investors line up with their lotto tickets, ready to snatch it up no matter what the price, Greg Guenthner suggests a slightly more restrained approach. Read on...