1. China has a massive lead in millionaire headcount[caption id="attachment_8870" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: 2017 China Private Wealth Report and Global Wealth Report.[/caption] The success of the Chinese economy has not only lifted millions out of poverty but it has minted more than 800 new millionaires, in U.S. dollar terms, every single day in 2017. Although this growth rate is cooling down to 18% in 2018 we see a similar economic phenomenon entirely missing in India.
2. Chinese household wealth is 6 times larger than India[caption id="attachment_8871" align="alignright" width="300"] Source: Global Wealth Report[/caption] Indians are well-known for maintaining large holdings of gold, real estate and cash in the absence of effective social welfare but this culture of savings has recently mixed with a modern investment outlook. However, China is in a dominant position as its $29 trillion household wealth war chest trumps India completely. We expect household wealth to grow to $7.1 trillion by 2022 while China’s corpus will surge to $39 Trillion by then.
3. India needs Gross National Income growth to kick in[caption id="attachment_8872" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: World Bank[/caption] Income is never equitably distributed and usually concentrated in the top 10–20% of the population. This is precisely why GNI per capita is an important socio-economic metric to track since it roughly indicates the average income of a country’s citizens. As can be evidenced above, Chinese income grew by leaps and bounds over the last 30 odd years while income in India was much more sluggish. We expect a similar exponential breakout to occur in India if a favorable economic environment is cultivated through strategic stimulus and responsible policy-making. We believe Chinese income will grow 4 to 5 times during this timeframe as it becomes the largest economy in the world.
4. Indian assets are much more stressed[caption id="attachment_8873" align="alignright" width="300"] Source: RBI and CBRC[/caption] India’s NPA ratio may hit 11.1% by September 2018 and this is a particularly troubling situation given the context that 19% of the population still remains unbanked with the vast majority only beginning to tap into formal credit. The debt of just 12 companies constitutes 25% of all NPA in India which highlights how disconnected small and medium enterprise customers are from the issue. China’s debt fueled economy is on a much tighter leash with just 1.7% of all assets being defined as non-performing thanks to a decade long restructuring exercise where asset-based securitization became the norm. Although India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is proving to be helpful we believe existing risks could push stressed assets to 15%. However, Chinese exposure seems to be limited to 3% because of interventions by the CBRC.
5. China is the global leader in clean energy[caption id="attachment_8874" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance[/caption] China’s Achilles heel has always been the environmental compromises it has had to make in order to accelerate its economic output. However, it is now seriously committed to undoing this wrong by using its abundant capital and manufacturing prowess to scale clean renewable energy solutions. In 2017 alone China added 53GW of solar PV accounting for nearly 50% of the global market. Cumulative PV installations in China reached 130GW with the 2020 target being revised to 230 GW. India has already achieved its 20GW solar target a full 4 years ahead of schedule but to meet its new commitment of 100GW by 2022 it will require pumping in $160 billion. We consider such an investment essential for India and advise mandatory coupling of smart energy storage solutions with PV installation to accelerate rollout.
6. Female participation in labor is lagging in India[caption id="attachment_8875" align="alignright" width="300"] Source: ILO[/caption] China and India have a shared history of attempting to manage their growing populations in varied ways with limited success and serious social and demographic consequences. However, China has managed to leapfrog India in terms of encouraging its female population to contribute to the workforce. In 2017, for every 100 male members of the labor force there were 81 female workers in China as compared to only 34 in India. India must continue to invest in changing the social narrative of women and provide meaningful opportunities for them because it could unlock an additional $770 billion to its GDP by 2025. The lack of participation and high-skilled work for women poses a giant risk to India.
7. Food deficit is a very real and shared concern[caption id="attachment_8876" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: Food and Agriculture Organization[/caption] Malnutrition has been a major concern for both India and China for the past few decades as they worked to reduce the infant mortality rate and improve the overall health of their citizens. Unfortunately, India is still home to 190.7 million undernourished people and 38.4% of children under the age of five are stunted. China has almost eliminated urban poverty but 134.7 million are still undernourished! However, innovations such as Ying Yang Bao, a sachet of micronutrients, are helping the government to make China hunger-free. India needs to adopt a multi-pronged approach by expanding on nutrition schemes for adolescent girls; leveraging the unique identification project to bring transparency to the public distribution system comprised of 400,000 fair price shops; and implementing the National Food Security Act fully.
8. Billionaires aren’t growing the same way[caption id="attachment_8877" align="alignright" width="300"] Source: Hurun Research Institute[/caption] The count of billionaires in a nation isn’t just a trophy but, in our opinion, a real indicator of wealth generation since a lot of new income does get routed to their mega-corporations. China is already home to more billionaires than anywhere else on the planet and will continue to outpace the US the coming few decades. The Chinese are also entering this rarified club at an average age of 55 years which is 6 and 7 years earlier than their American and European peers respectively. India is doing nowhere as well in age threshold, billionaire count and total net worth with China adding more new billionaires in the last 12 months than there are Indian billionaires.
9. India is facing a serious job crunch[caption id="attachment_8878" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: India Labour Bureau and Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security[/caption] The greatest promise a fast-growing economy brings to its people is jobs which are widely believed to be gateways of economic mobility. They allow people to permanently escape poverty and provide opportunities to the next generation. In this measure, China has lived up to its potential by creating 65 million jobs in the past 6 years which is happens to be the entire population of France! In the same time frame India has produced a meagre 7 million jobs and its ability to consistently create jobs is suspect at best. It must particularly improve at providing high-quality employment opportunities since most new jobs have belonged to low-skilled categories which are at risk to be automated.
10. India can learn from China about entrepreneurship[caption id="attachment_8879" align="alignright" width="300"] Source: ILO[/caption] Startups and SMEs form the heart of Chinese and Indian commerce but China is leading at scale with a wider base of employers, better gender diversity and significantly larger number of companies. According to the Administration for Industry and Commerce in China there are currently 77,469,000 companies! India on the other hand only has 1.13 million companies which indicates the severe lack of depth in its manufacturing, technology and services industry.
11. China’s long-term dominance is linked to education spending[caption id="attachment_8880" align="alignleft" width="300"] Source: UNESCO[/caption] China had set a target of minimum 4% GDP spend on education in 2012 and has since then consistently beat the mark. It understands the needs for being agile when it comes to skill development as can be evidenced by its use and strong encouragement of AI in education across all age groups. China’s state policy has made clear its desire to be the global leader in AI innovation by 2030. It wants to catapult the fledgling industry’s worth to more than $150 billion and has already commissioned a $2 billion AI research park in Beijing. In this context, India is a laggard with only a third of China’s annual operating expenditure towards education being allocated. Furthermore, its inability to innovate in teaching methodology and course curriculum is a major reason for Indian students to not realize their complete potential. About the Author: Sartaj Anand is an entrepreneur with an unreasonable dream to positively impact 1 billion human lives within his lifetime. He currently operates his holding company — egomonk — which has interests in consulting, media, events and travel. Sartaj considers himself a global citizen and has travelled, worked and co-created in more than 50 countries so far. Note: All images and infographics are courtesy of egomonk.
But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?
Let’s start with gold.
Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.
In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.
It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.
And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.
It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.
We’ve already agreed.
Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.
Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.
In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.
Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.
This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.
But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently. Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.
Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?
We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.
What if education was a new gold standard?
And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?
Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.
By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?
Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.
Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.
These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.
“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.” —George Washington