Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Return of East India Company

I was excited today as my new table was delivered at my place. I was used to tables being delivered in full form (on 4 legs) with great difficulty through the three feet wide doors. But today the table was delivered in parts. The first package had the legs, the second had the table top, the third package contained the material for drawers. Then the 'carpenter' opened all the boxes and started joining the pieces like a child playing with a kit.

In between this excitement, it was sad to see that the carpenter didn't actually make the table from scratch but was only assembling the pieces. The table was made somewhere in a factory in China. All  he had to do was just fit the pieces together. I was surprised to see such engineering/craftsmanship from China.

Just like the table, the furniture market is full of products supplied from China. I am wondering whether India can locally compete with that in terms of delivery time, quality and price. Probably we can compete in terms of quality. But it is faster to get goods delivered from China than getting it made locally in India. That is how someone can explain Globalization to a layperson. And that is the beginning of the end of one more local industry in India. 


It reminded me of the 17th Century when East India Company came to India and everyone was excited to see new products in the market bought from distant lands. And soon that led to closure of many industries like handicrafts. And the rest is history. What we need to learn from our mistakes is that we should grow our local competencies. 


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