What we should learn from India (and China)
The indian president, Ram Nath Kovind, is here for a state visit.
What should we get from such a visit to help us with our economic problems? We should not be thinking of money or dole outs but of ideas that can make us move towards economic self-sufficiency.
To put things in proper perspective, India is the second most populous country in the world, next to China. Like China, their average citizen might be as hard-up as the average Filipino, but in terms of economy, China’s is the biggest after the US. India’s is also on the move. And both countries have products or have acquired some, that are taking the world by storm.
What is their common story. Both are nuclear powers and are now training their sights to the heavens. That is, they are progressing in their outer space programs. This seems harmless but its deeper meaning is that they have the technology to also come up with sophisticated weaponry. Given time, they could produce military arms equal the smart weapons of the US and Russia.
And their enormous populations could come to bear on any enemy. One could bomb their soldiers every minute but a lot more would be coming.
So what is the common secret of these two countries in getting their economies off the ground? They copied from others. For the younger generation, they might not know that it was the secret also of Japan.
India and China, starting in the ‘50s had been going around buying obsolete plants making machineries that were considered junks by the west. Some of these were automotive plants. An Indian company bought the plant that was making the old and reliable Willy’s Jeep—the original Jeep that enabled the allies to win the war with its features of versatility like its 4-wheel drive . That company was Mahindra. Various models of its vehicles are now being sold in this country. Another Indian company that was doing that was Tata, They are now selling their vehicle products all over the world.
That was what China also did. When Ford Philippines left the Philippines in the early ‘80s out of exasperation over the indiscriminate changing of the rules of doing business during the time of Marcos, they sold their stamping plant (making fenders, hoods and other body parts of the Ford Fiera) in Bataan. It was the Chinese who bought it.
The Chinese also bought the plant and rights to reproduce an old model Cummins diesel engine from the west. It is now the engines of some of their cars and trucks being sold around.
As to the Japanese they had been copying or making replicas of western designed produicts and were reproducing these in a bad way in the beginning. Their automotive products, for instance, were often called JJs, or Japanese Junks. Then they improved and improved and are now producing some of the world’s best.
Now an Inidan company owns Land Rover and Jaguar, some of UK’s pride.
A Chinese company owns Volvo and had surreptitiously bought a considerable chunk of Mercedes Benz’s shares of stock which the company is trying to purge.
How about us Filipinos. We cannot even produce a commercially competitive screw driver. And there is no foreseeable change in our ways or policies.**