Tyler Cowen | Never Mind Europe, Worry About India

The economic slowdown in India is one of the world’s biggest economic stories, but it is commanding only a modicum of attention in the United States.

It may not even look like a slowdown because by developed standards, India’s growth — estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 6.9 percent for 2012 — is still strong. But a slowdown it is: the economy has decelerated from projected rates of more than 8 percent, and negative momentum may bring a further decline. The government reportedyear-over-year growth in the October-through-December quarter of only 6.1 percent.

What is disturbing is that much of the decline in the growth rate is distributed unevenly, with the greatest burden falling on the poor. If the slower rate continues or worsens, many millions of Indians, for another generation, will fail to rise above extreme penury and want. The problems of the euro zone are a pittance by comparison.

China commands more attention, but Scott B. Sumner, the Bentley College economist, has pointed out it is India that is likely to end up as the world’s largest economy by the next century. China’s population is likely to peak relatively soon while India’s will continue to grow, so under even modestly optimistic projections the Indian economy will be No. 1 in terms of total size.

 

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