In economics, decoupling is actually the holy grail that can prevent an apocalypse. Decoupling became the deity to invoke during the recent economic crisis, when the global economy suffered its most spectacular collapse in eighr decades. To understand what it means, imagine that the purse-strings of the world we live in are shared between two axes: traditional powerhouse US on one end, and the face of the future known as ‘Emerging Markets’ on the other. The Emerging Markets include usual suspects India and China and some countries from Latin America, Eastern Europe, etc. Now thanks to globalisation, all these countries are interconnected in a giant economic merry-go-round. For long, the US was the engine of this ride, fuelling growth in the rest of the world by offering up its gigantic export market. When the times were good, everyone on the ride had a good time. But with the US economy teetering, exports headed to American shores dried up, and all the other carts in the merry-go-round suddenly faced the threat of toppling over in tow. It is at this point that decoupling made its messianic entry into the scene. A group of optimistic economists gave the world hope that it could afford to look beyond the US and lean on the able shoulders of the Emerging Markets. The domestic economies of these countries are now robust enough to sustain themselves through internal demand, they pronounced, and export-dependency is passé. In other words, the cart in merry-o-ground had ‘decoupled’ or ‘delinked’ from the American engine. To what extent this is true is still part of confounding debates in economic circles, but it appears to be the idea that holds the key to the world’s future; as does the conception of the term in environmental circles, where decoupling represents an idyllic divorce between ‘environmental bads’ and ‘economic goods’. So Happy Decoupling! For Indians!
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