Warning to India: Original Research in China and Western World


By: Kalavai Venkat

A Chinese scientist claims success in the first gene-edited baby. None of us would know whether the claim is exaggerated. However, the angry denials originating from the West and the concerns westerners raise about the ethics of gene-editing imply that there is a ring of truth to this claim.

However, that is not the theme of my post.

Over the last decade, China has marched ahead in every emerging technology field (e.g., CRISPR, nano-computing, super-computing, biotechnology, network protocols, social media). The Chinese government has invested heavily in R&D labs, experimental hubs, and tech parks where the research can be translated into products. There is a thriving partnership between these labs and the industry.

China’s English language newspapers do an outstanding job of highlighting these in detail so that Chinese public are geared to embrace the emerging world and form the right perspective. China would generate wealth and emerge as a super power. I anticipate it to surge ahead of all western countries in the next 30 years especially given the superior average IQ of Han Chinese.

Contrast this with India. We are still content with putting western CEOs on a pedestal (even when they abuse our hospitality by taking a dump on us) and expressing gratitude that they’re opening their shops in India. Indians measure success by India’s ability to become the low-skill outsourcing hub of western corporations.

Nobody realizes that none of these translate into long-term wealth; nor make India a super power. Hardly any research lab has been commissioned in the last few years to pursue these emerging fields.

India’s English language media is terrible and indulges in sleaze and sensationalism. Ignorant Indians are elated when some westerners tell then that India is doing better than China because India is a democracy. Nobody pauses to think that there is no correlation between democracy and wealth generation. We buy the democracy snake oil westerners sell and proudly apply it on ourselves.

If India doesn’t wake up now it would be a terribly weakened society – if not a balkanized one – very soon. Are Indians listening to what it conveys? Do Indians understand the emerging world? Will India wake up to the challenge and not celeberate their products in the persons of Sunder Pichais, Indira Nuis and a whole crop of that kind?

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