Cups of Water Into the Desert
Cups of Water Into the Desert
  • Matthew Weigand
  • 승인 2009.12.07 17:44
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Korea is in a unique position here and now - it has strong ties and growing ties to two of the largest growth markets in the world. That would be China and India. Both of the countries are gearing up for some world-changing economic events, and Korea is positioning itself to benefit from all of it. With the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement made with India, and its traditionally strong ties to China, the country has got markets lined up for everything it can possibly produce. The entire output of the entire country of Korea is like a small glass of water in the desert of China or India - you could pour out water all day and the desert would just soak it up and ask for more. Korea may be a gilded glass of high-end electronic goods, but that hardly matters to the ravenous hunger of these two waking giants.

India is opening its economy comprehensively, not just to Korean goods. China has already opened its market and its great growth is the stuff of legend. It cannot be overstated that this is two billion people we're talking about here. Any type of large economic shift of one third of the world's population is going to have far-reaching consequences. If you want to flip the metaphors around a bit, you can think of India and China as twin whirlpools just forming in a popular trade route for ships. While the ships were formerly traveling to various different destinations, many of them are diverted towards one or the other whirlpools. To stretch the metaphor a little too far, this would be good for the whirlpool's economy, but bad for the economies of the original destinations of those ships. Goods that had before been given to other countries will, by preference of FTA agreements, be given to India from its trading partners, or to its trading partners from India. This will change the entire balance of power and money in South Asia.

There are some experts that say this will create a net loss for all countries that are not India or China in the region. Countries that produce the raw materials that developed nations need to turn into advanced products would experience harder times due to so many area's preference on Indian goods, according to some analysts. In this case, Korea would have dodged a bullet preemptively with its focus on high-end electronics, because the effect of an India-globe FTA would not hinder it. However, as a small drop of water in India's ocean, Korea's economic outlook could still be affected indirectly if India sucks up all the goods, money, and business. Korea's customers around Asia might not be able to afford its goods any longer, and India's market might not grow enough to compensate for that. The world is a complex and frequently confusing place, and economic forecasting is unreliable. It may very well be that there are no winners in an open India future.

China and India have not had a very close relationship historically, either. There is little precedence for them cooperating. And their upcoming economic roles as fast-growing economies seeking goods and raw materials put them in ever-increasing antagonism.

Every single Korean citizen could produce 10 cell phones each and ship them all over to India, and that would only supply half of the population, and leave China completely in the cold. Despite the dour possibilities for India's rise, with its possible harmful implications, and despite China's possible opposition and its long-standing antagonism, Korea only stands to benefit. Unless the two wakening giants smash all of Asia to ruins around them in a misguided struggle for dominance, from a Seoul-based perspective life couldn't be rosier.

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