India: Don't Drink the Tap Water?
“Don't drink the tap water or you'll be dead.”
—Indian fund manager's advice to newly arrived foreigners
Not bad for what Winston Churchill once called a “geographical expression.” In his mind, it was “no more a united nation than the Equator.” After independence in 1947, you would have been hard-pressed to find anybody taking even money bets that India would be around a decade later. That India would survive as a democracy for 60-plus years (and counting) seemed improbable to people at the time.
As the American writer Paul Bowles wrote in 1963:
Obviously, it is a gigantic task to make a nation out of a place like India, what with Hindus, Parsees, Jainists, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants [Bowles forgot Muslims], some of whom may speak the arbitrarily imposed idiom of Hindi, but most of whom are more likely to know Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, or some other tongue instead. One wonders whether any sort of unifying project can ever be undertaken, or, indeed, whether it is even desirable.
That it would be a place to get rich would have seemed even more improbable. Yet India embarks on the early stages of a massive secular boom. It is a fine place to see our thesis in play.
India has already created some massive fortunes. At one point, analysts at Agora Financial figured out that India minted 47 new millionaires every day. Moreover, there have been some high-profile billionaires, such as Lakshmi Mittal, founder ...