“The old forecasting rule was to make as many forecasts as possible and publicize the ones you got right. The new rule is to forecast so far into the future that no one will know if you got it wrong.” - Ruchir Sharma.
Which is the world’s fastest growing economy currently? Without doubt, it’s China. But will China continue on the path of 9-10% growth for the next few years? Most economists think it will, but China is slowing down due to multiple reasons. It may soon witness a recession, which won’t be anywhere close to what the rest of the world encountered in 2008. China’s recession is more like a slowdown to 6% growth.
So which country will bag the gold medal for growth in the coming decade? Ruchir Sharma attempts to answer this question through his masterpiece ‘Breakout Nations’. He has analyzed the history, political scenario and sentiment of a lot of emerging markets and correlated them to the countries’ economic conditions. In this book, renowned economist Ruchir Sharma meticulously dissects countries like India, Russia, Brazil, China, South Africa, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and others. He offers valid insights, backed up with sound stats, into the strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunities for these emerging nations.
|'Breakout Nations' - Ruchir Sharma|
Every nation has its fair share of obstacles. Whether it’s infrastructure, government overspending, policy paralysis, the refusal of political figures to give up power, stagnation or something else, each country is battling problems which have occurred due to decades of following the same patterns. Some countries like Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea have used difficult times to revamp the way they functioned, and have been rewarded handsomely. Others have chosen to stick to tried and tested (and purely functional) models which have restricted their opportunities for growth.
Ruchir Sharma isn’t just shooting from the hip like many so-called economists do. He has toured each country extensively. He brings out astonishing details of day-to-day functioning the emerging nations. For instance, the strategy being adopted by companies in China to woo workers back from their villages after Christmas vacations. Or corporate head honchos in Brazil using helicopters to travel from one office to another within the city because of excessive traffic. Or that Russia is heavily dependent on oil prices to secure its future. Each problem (and more) has stemmed from conditions which have been building over long, and continue develop. Since this book was written in 2011, scenarios have changed a little. But most of his predictions seem on track for the coming decade.
This book is a pleasant and entertaining read for anyone who is remotely interested in economics. The language is simple yet elegant. Facts are made interesting with the help of short stories and anecdotes. It reminds me so much of Gurcharan Das’ ‘India Unbound’, another gem. Of course, after having spent years interacting with the world’s most powerful politicians and writing umpteen research papers, nothing less is expected of Ruchir Sharma. I couldn’t find a single shortcoming in the book. Partly because of my love for macro economics and also because I don’t have even 0.1% of the knowledge which the author has. Read the book to find out which are the ‘Breakout Nations’ according to the author. You will be surprised to know that they’re from among the usual suspects.