The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Category: India

India Is Cooked

On May 29 New Delhi was 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.2 F), only 1.5 degrees less than the world record from Death Valley.

Records are being set all over the world:

And this is in May, which is, in a way, a good thing, since humidity is relatively low and the wet-bulb temperature wouldn’t have been as high as it would be, in say, August. At a humidity of 66%, people would have been dropping like flies.

I have noted, for many years now, that I do not expect India to survive and that I expect, along the way, large famines and death tolls of at least two to three hundred million.

Temperature is only part of it, but it’s not going to be a small deal. Most of India’s groundwater is contaminated, and while some states are fine, many are over-using groundwater to the extant that farmer suicides because wells drying up are a regular event. As the Himalayas get hotter and glaciers dry up, rivers will first swell then either die or have far less water in them. (The Monsoons, at least, will be stronger in most areas of India.)

The combination of less water, more heat, extreme weather events and unreliable planting seasons means that at some point India’s harvest is going to fail in a big way. If this was a “India only” problem, well, the rest of the world could get India thru, but it isn’t, India’s just one of the most vulnerable countries.

In most famines, there’s enough food, it just isn’t distributed to people who need it, but we are going to have famines where there just, genuinely, isn’t enough food, period and India is very vulnerable to this.

(This is, as an aside, one of the main reasons for the China/Russia alliance. China has great difficulty feeding itself, and Russia has massive food surpluses. China wants and needs to be first in line when food becomes scarce.)

Now there are potential solutions to a lot of this, but India, though ostensibly rich in GDP terms, isn’t rich on the ground and has terrible state capacity. China will be able to implement effective public policy for quite some time. India won’t.

Finally, and I want to return to this, the fact that population replacement rates are falling around the world is GOOD, not bad. We have too many people and are in classic population overshoot. Increasing population is the idiot’s way of increasing GDP. (Canada and Britain, take note.)

So one good piece of news for India is that population is now at replacement and in many states has fallen below replacement. But, it’s a little too late, I fear.

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Why Canada Is Having A Diplomatic Crisis With India

A Sikh activist was killed in Canada. The Canadian government claims he was killed by India. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has made this accusation himself, and the dispute saw an exchange of diplomatic expulsions.

This is the sort of thing that governments tend to wink on, unless they don’t like the other side, so why is Canada making such a big fuss?

Simple enough, Canada has a huge number of Sikh immigrants. They started coming in the 70s, and they’re politically powerful. They’ve done well in Canada (and are well thought of, over all.)

Canada has no significant trade ties to India. Imports and exports as of 2020, were about 20 billion Canadian. That’s peanuts.

So we have no interests that matter with India, and we have a large minority which feels oppressed in India (because they are, especially under Modi.) Sikhs have a long-simmering desire for their own state, as well, and a tradition of violence, so it’s not surprising the Indian government worries about them. Back in 1985 an Air India jet was blown up in the air by Sikh terrorists.

So, fundamentally, what Canada thinks of India doesn’t matter much to India and what India thinks of Canada doesn’t matter much to Canada, but both nations have powerful domestic political reasons to be willing to row.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter.

This is the same reason that Canada has been so pro-Ukraine. Canada has a huge Ukrainian community, and Russia competes with us: we sell the same things, and we have competing claims in the Arctic.

Again, it’s a domestic issue and what Russia thinks of Canada really doesn’t matter much, nor vice-versa.

(Our dispute with China is far more stupid.)

The Americans are very keen to use India as a counter-weight against China, as is the West in general, which is why Canada hasn’t received much support, but that doesn’t really matter: India isn’t going to make its decision on cooperation with the US based on how much it likes Canada and unlike Turkey pressuring Sweden and Finland on Turkish “terrorists” or they won’t let them into NATO, there’s nothing Canada really needs from India.

All of which is to say, for both India’s Modi and Canada’s Trudeau a fight over Sikhs is a winner domestically, with no serious international consequences, so why not?

Edit: India has stopped visas for Canadians. Canada has two million citizens of Indian descent and sends over 750K tourists to India a year. This is an attempt to put domestic pressure on the Canadian government.

It’s also worth noting that India has a record of killing overseas Sikh activists, though usually in south-east Asian countries. So the allegation isn’t that far fetched.

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Civilization Ending Long Covid Levels?

So, via everyone’s favorite homnicidal Dalek, a study which finds that 51 percent to 80 percent of people who get Covid (pdf) get Long Covid. Often it’s asymptomatic, but asymptomatic cases still do damage to the body, just like you can have high blood pressure for a long time without knowing it or feeling anything. As the Dalek notes, this is potentially civilization ending now that we’ve decided to let everyone get Covid eventually.

The extra sauce on this idiot doomburger, is that each time you get Covid, you can get Long Covid and there is NO lasting natural or vaccine immunity to Covid. None. And each time you get Covid, any Long Covid you have can make it harder to resist Covid and can make your Long Covid worse.

The old figures for Long Covid ranged from 20 to 30 percent. Even those numbers, given repeated infections and compounding damage, were disastrous. These new numbers are catastrophic. Eventually, if we don’t control Covid (and remember, there have been multiple new variants since BA2) we may literally have billions of disabled people unable to work and needing care.

Probably you’ll know one of them, or be one of them. Probably someone you care about will have Long Covid. Then your government, which after all couldn’t be bothered to control Covid, will decide it costs too much to support them, will cut health care and disability care, and they’ll die. Probably miserably.

Welcome to the future.

Either replace your leaders, at any cost, or you and people you care about (I know most people don’t give a damn about strangers) will get sick, suffer immensely, wind up homeless in many cases, then die miserably.

Also India is having a heat wave in April/May which has spiked over 60 celcius (140f) in some locations, and where 40-50- celcius (104-122F) is routine. We’ll never know how many people it kills (India’s very bad at counting and doesn’t much want to), and on top of that, it’s causing crop failures. Given that we’re already in for a year with less food and higher prices than usual (thanks to the Ukraine war, Western sanctions related to the war, and various problems in China (and certainly other extreme weather events)), a lot of people are going to die from famine in the next year and a half, and there will then be massive political instability, probably including some revolutions and war.

We’ll talk more about this soon.

Your leaders are culling you. Deliberately. They know what they’re doing and they’re okay with it. Are you okay with it? You may not be able to do anything yet, but the first step is to understand, in your gut, that they are a threat to you; enemies of yours.


India Is Not The Next China

One of the main reasons I took some time to read the smarter members of our international elite was to learn what their assumptions are. The smart ones disagree on the consensus in some places, but what is most interesting to me is where they don’t.

India is one of those places: almost all assume that since China modernized, India’s modernization is inevitable and it will be the next great power.

I don’t see it. India still doesn’t have the necessary government capacity to run the country. Despite the attempt to clean up corruption with demonitization, the civil service is still immensely corrupt, but it is also incompetent. Whatever one thinks of the CCP, they had state capacity; they could make things happen and discipline local elites. The central government in Delhi still mostly lacks the ability to carry out complicated actions in the regions; heck, often enough they can’t even manage the capital region well.

Next, the Indians haven’t taken the right lessons from China. They see that China was involved in global value chains, but they haven’t understood how China used dual currencies and currency restrictions, along with currency purchases to control subsidize exports. They don’t understand, that is, that China’s rise was Mercantalist and not Neo-liberal. Certainly China liberalized certain sectors, but they didn’t neo-liberalize monetary policy and they kept government firms in charge of large amounts of the economy, including much of the banking sector, which they used to direct loans where they wanted. Despite criticisms and problems, this worked.

Chinese liberalization was always within the context of a centrally controlled monetary and fiscal policy, ntended to create the necessary conditions for international competitiveness and to direct capital towards sector the government prioritized. Regional governments were allowed vast latitude to purse centrally chosen goals, but the center did determine the goals and keep an eye on what regional officials were doing.

Third, even if India modernizes faster than I expect, they aren’t beating climate change. India is one of the major countries which will be hit hardest. Crude effects like pure heat increases, potential problems with rainfall, increased extreme weather events, and loss of water from the Himalayas can all be expected to harm India. Since the Indians have also vastly overused their groundwater, they will be hit by serious water issues very early compared to much of the rest of the world.

Then there is Bangladesh, one of the lowest lying countries in the world: it will be one of the first nations to collapse under climate change, and it will send literally tens of millions of mostly Muslim refugees into India.

India isn’t making it. They still only have a small middle class, they regularly have food problems, their government is corrupt and incompetent and they don’t understand how modernization actually happens so they aren’t pursuing the right policies. Ironically they really should sit down with the Chinese and cut a deal through the Belt and Road initiative to be the nation which primarily receives industry China is offshoring but is suitable for India’s stage of development, but tense Chinese/Indian relationships are preventing making an arrangement which would benefit them.

(The Chinese cut deals with America, who they have many historical grievances with, and overlooked America’s primary support for Taiwan, when they needed what America offered. They weren’t over-proud, they did what they had to to get strong first.)

Unless climate change effects happen far slower than I expect (and so far my predictions have been far closer to what’s happening than consensus forecasts, but still slightly optimistic) and the Indian government gets a clue about how the world actually works and manages to actually fix their civil service, there’s no way India makes it before global value chains start collapsing under climate change and having to be re-engineered. At that point India will have so many problems that industrialization will be off the board, and only an extraordinary government and leadership would be able to take advantage of changed circumstances to build up India. Much more likely is government collapse and loss of effective control of huge swathes of the subcontinent as mass famines killing at least 10s of millions of people (and quite possible hundreds of millions) and mass migrations occur.

I wish my analysis indicated otherwise. I’ve spent time in India, I have family who stayed after independence, and I like the Indian people.

But I’m just not seeing it.


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