Just to sum it up, world, about 6.5 billion of us humans are out there, about 40 % in India and China, 700 million in Africa and 300 million in the U.S.  About 1.5 billion of us are Muslim and about 1 billion Catholic in some manner, another 40 % in total.  I’ve got these numbers down because that’s where the world’s future, some of the hugest prospects and the power are going to be, now, not way off in time.

Is it natural to want to be the Big Dog in a world of this size or should we all seek to assure ourselves of a competitive position with the understanding that all must prosper?  Will civilization and communication knock out dictators and will they be succeeded by religious dominants?  How will we all act in self-interest while bringing the other to an equal footing if we are the most prosperous currently?

Acting in self-interest is the human way and the subject of our life’s internal conversation.  We are born totally self-absorbed and depart without ego.  Our life-cycle activities focus energy exclusively on ourselves in our young adulthood and from then on are diluted by the needs of those closest to us who exercise a priority on our thoughts.

The life cycle of the world’s population is necessarily short in the emerging economies since there are no resources or capability to sustain life for the physically weak.  The result is a young population with commercial energy and focus.  Take China where not only is youth prevalent but the population is heavily male as the culture favored male children to the extent that females were aborted at the latest stages and the one child family has lead to an upcoming nation of only children with the self-absorption of that breed. 

For many years, this will result in a population centered on commerce to the exclusion of other social interests.  This phenomenon will be accelerated by the directions of the government and other cultural influences.  The history of Hong Kong under British rule is instructive as to the future where business activity was life’s sole priority for most in the early post-WW II years.

Right now the Chinese are living on the export of manufactures to the U.S. and the rest of the world and the Indians are providing services to the same market demand.  That situation will change as the domestic business community will develop innovative goods and services with market appeal and the maximum benefit to the world’s needs. 

The copy-cat norm will be passed on to other 3rd world countries until the age of communication removes all the uninformed.  Then we will compete and cooperate on an even table basis with the most efficient distributor and the most productive labor as the common goal.  The political fervor of the world will mandate that all carry the healthcare, educational and environmental burdens of society at similarly high levels.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s most backward continent with dictators and toxic extraction industries and slave labor and most every imaginable ill of the modern world still in place and practice.  The economies here share the distinction of providing the world’s most significant commercial criminal activity with other 3rd world nations and pockets such as North Korea, some portions of Central and South America.  And yet modern electronics now provide communication gear/Cell Phones to about ¼ of the population. 

That connections number is slated to go up to about 70 % during the 1st quarter of this century.  Once the population is in contact over two generations, the world will never again have such a pocket of illiteracy.

One reason you can tell that there is a significant future here is that the current level of investment is picking up among institutional sources of funds and the returns when the market is met are huge.

Take the hotel industry, for example, where the modern inventory when compared to international demand is almost non-existent.  Returns can be almost 100 % for projects completed in the last five years, in other words, you can get your money back even with an extraordinary interest or opportunity cost on investment funds even when there are hiccups such as cost overruns on projects with primarily an unskilled labor force.  The real estate returns can be similar in other market segments too and the cost basis in these markets is very low when compared to U.S. or major cities of the world.  In other words, there’s a long way to go before a comparative lid is imposed by succeeding investors.  Granted that the risks include political uncertainty, possible market illiquidity issues and currency fluctuations common to any emerging economy, there appears to be a lot of room in a lot of markets to be a successful entrepreneur.

I think the concept of one nation or the other being the big dog in such activity is not going to be possible to the exclusion of other countries.  There is no single entity including the U.S. which can exercise a power to compel economically to the exclusion of others.  And now that the cat is out of the bag in the information age, there is no one society that knows it all or the majority of it all.

A modifier here is the influence of the religions of this world and in particular, its extremists.  The most demonstrable extremist position now is in the Muslim world, where the tipping point for Muslim self-administration has not been reached.  The Catholic point of view has been modified in the past half century to the point that members of that faith choose a realistic point of view when none is forthcoming from the clergy.  Just as in languages, the common usage becomes the reality over time.  But the Muslim world has had the same extremist positions without an offsetting balance from members for the history of its existence, so the transparency of the influence of extreme positions including terrorism from this source is not as clear.

The answer, then, to me is that the wise man will become involved now in the commerce of China, India and Africa to the best of his/her ability.  And that once again, the grace of God will be a part of the determination of commercial success.               

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