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This is a fashionable theory, but I'm not convinced yet that this can actually happen - because of resource constraints, because of deeper tensions and problems inside within these countries and, most of all, because in many cases their elites are as much trying to ape and join the global elite as they are trying to steer their countries towards prosperity or greater power.

You words ought to be pasted up in front of every columnist and editor across the Western world, indeed, should be tatooed into their foreheads.

China and India are still predominantly Third-World countries. True, they are unusual in that they are very large and therefore offer large pools of cheap labour, and can sustain large 'wealthy' domestic populations.

But if inequality can screw up and derail the US, it can certainly prevent China or India from climbing to the top of the pile. Without imaginative leadership that envisages some alternative to simply slotting into the current world system on a subordinate basis, the fates of these nations are sealed.

by wing26 on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 06:00:55 PM EST

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