India & China will produce Millions of Ingeneers and scientists in the next 20 years,how can the West compete?


SORRY ABOUT THE SPELLING OF Engineer. English spelling is challenging for non native speakers.

What I mean in my question is: how can the west retain its standard of living when it seems to be in the process of losing all the competitive advantages it possessed over the rest of the world during the last few centuries?

Are western countries going to gradually get poorers? Once all the industries and many services are relocated to cheap countries will the high tech or high added value companies follow? And what will be left to the West?

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is a wonderful question, because it provides the opportunity to explore the meaning of the rise of China and India, and their various strengths and weaknesses.

    But a key point I'd like to make is that the volume of engineers has no bearing on a country's competitiveness. Compare at the number of engineers in Redmond, Washington with the rest of the U.S. and the world; or compare the number of engineers in Schaumburg, Illinois (Motorola) with that of the rest of the world. In both of those locations, the number of engineers are very small, but they compete wonderfully.

    Another key point: no matter how good those engineers are, quality of life in the west is almost guaranteed to go up. In fact, the west's quality of life will go up more if those Indian and Chinese engineers turn out (against the odds!) to be of overall fantastic quality. Look at the current reverse situation: the quality of life for the Chinese is enhanced dramatically by the smart engineers at Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Ikea, Starbucks (yes, Starbucks -- engineers have to design their coffee-making equipment and their furniture), Dell, Cisco. Similarly, the "West's" quality of life is enhanced by the good engineers at Samsung, Toyota, Mittal, etc.

    Economics, fortunately, is overall not a zero-sum game.

    That all said, the RELATIVE quality of life between India/China and the rich world has, and will change, dramatically. This is not necessarily a bad (or good) thing. For example, just 25 years ago, probably 99% of chinese led peasant lives with incomes of under $1/day. These days, the per capita income in Shanghai is greater than $5000/year, i.e., per capita income in China has gone up 15 times in 20 years in some places, while in the US it has probably not gone up more than 4 times. So while once the Chinese economy was probably 1/100th the size of the US economy, it is now about 1/6th the size of the US economy. At current mid-term growth rates, the Chinese economy (not per capita income) will exceed the size of the US economy in about 40-50 years.

    The overall competitiveness of an economy is probably little related to the number of engineers. Certainly important factors include: general education, capital allocation efficiency, government and regulatory efficiency, freedom of movement, political stability, health care, level of anti-social behavior. In many, but not all, of these areas, the U.S. is far superior than China or India.

    95%+ of Chinese can read and write, only 40% of Indians, while 20% of U.S. students do not graduate high school. Political stability is very strong in the US, less so in India, and less so in China. (Some may disagree with this assessment of China, but I would only ask, "what happens if Hu Jintao has a heart attack and dies"? The answer: "no one knows."....THAT is political instability.)

    US banks are the best in the world, while Indian and Chinese banks are terrible. Default ratios in the US are under 1%, in China closer to 30%, notwithstanding the high debt in the US vs. the growing economy in China. If China has a default ratio of 20-30% now, imagine what happens if the economy slows down!

    China and India are also terrible at allocating labor efficiently. The US is fantastic. Just about anyone in the US can go just about anywhere for a job or to start over. Most Indians and Chinese are stuck in their peasant villages or depressing cities.

    The level of efficiency of the US government and the local and state governments are excellent compared to their Chinese and Indian counterparts. India has 30 million cases in its court system, many lasting a decade or longer. In China, local governments threaten audits if a company wants to move, while major league corruption is endemic in both China and India.

    So long as the US maintains labor flexibility, efficiently allocates capital, promotes education, maintains a good set of political checks and balances (thereby promoting stability), the Western engineer and his non-engineering friends has no need to worry about large numbers of poorly trained, poorly informed, poorly managed, poorly allocated engineers.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Anyone who want's to compete head-to-head with either of these two countries on price alone will be in a losing position, but the west does not need to do this.

    The secret is to provide the quality and value added benefits that China and India lack the ability to provide at this time. The west is far ahead, so it is their race to win or lose.

  • 1 decade ago

    Even when jobs are moved to India, China or Ireland, note that unemployment rate in US is at its lowest at this point in time. One of the best policies US has is the immigration policy by which well educated engineers, doctors and scientists from these countries move to US for further studies and job and end up staying back and becoming citizens. On the whole, US is getting quality employees without investing much on those individuals.

  • Eric
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I don't think we can fully compete because of the state of education in this country. Parents who have the money to buy private education for their kids, or those with the time and knowledge to invest in home-schooling will produce better candidates than parents of publicly-educated children, but the Chinese and Indians will still win the numbers game. A lot of it depends on cultural/family expactations, not just the schools: parents of private-/home-schooled kids tend to be more involved in their childrens' lives, and have higher expectations; Asian culture also sets high expectations. Not all kids rise to their expected potential, but the higher you set the bar, the more a child is likely to achieve.

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  • Bogey
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    they cant..engineers and scientists in the West come from the male genders and india and china have billions of people who focus on those those countries will have so many people with Phd's working at mcdonalds....same as Russia and other countries that have a lot of engineers and where do you you think this cheap and skilled labor is going to end up...that's right change your major.

  • 1 decade ago

    What the hell are Ingeneers

    Learn to press the check spelling button.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    hey dont worry about spelling thing....we can understand wat u trying to say....

    hey u just wait and watch, India will the superpower of the world kuz India has the smartest ppl ever....India is the best. western countries r sucks. they r dumb as hell. they cant compete with India.



  • 1 decade ago

    By getting people who will use spell check.

  • 1 decade ago

    the answer is not in numbers. we can compete by

    training better and being willing to work.

  • 1 decade ago

    Every dog has its own day........

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