Rich countries adopting poor countries.

Is it foolish, dangerous, or impossible?  Lets think through and see where it leads.

Adoption may not be the right word.  Lets call it partnership, in enlightened self-interest.

Some rich countries, with high per capita income, are seeing their economic engines slowing down.  Growth has more or less plateaued.  Governments struggle to increase the pace of growth.  But years of searing growth seem to be over.  Japan is an example.

Such rich countries face internal constraints which limit growth which, in the long run, may result in slow down & decay.  Aging population, high life expectancy, low birth rates, dwindling workforce, saturated domestic market, low & decreasing natural resources etc. are some such constraints.  Reducing labor productivity is another big threat to growth.

To grow further, they need more workforce, more natural resources, and newer & bigger markets.

Immigration helps, but to a limited extent, because of cultural and protectionist reasons.  Rich countries lacking natural resources can buy mines, oil wells & agricultural land in other countries, but beyond a certain point, they are suspected of new age colonialism.  Newer & bigger markets may invariably mean exports, but this alone may not solve the problem.

We also need to address the social issues of ageing population, reducing productivity, low birth rates & so on.

Now, lets look at the idea of a rich country partnering a poor one.   As a complement to other approaches and policies.

We start with the partners being culturally similar, perhaps from the same region.   The rich country brings funds & knowledge transfer.  The poor country provides workforce & new markets.  There is no question of exploitation.

This is already happening in a multi-lateral, confused way.  But many countries are trying to partner with many others.  They loose focus & energy as time goes by.  Priorities change.  If some progress is made at all, its slow & painful.

Why don’t we try a long-term partnership, a marriage of nations?  It may facilitate equitable growth in both countries.

Japan with Cambodia.  Australia with India. US with a few latin American countries.  Singapore with Vietnam.

 

Advertisements