"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
Fareed speaks with Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in India and chairman of India's largest company, Reliance Industries, about the state of the global economy. To see the full interview, download the show at iTunes.
You are very bullish about the United States, probably more bullish than a lot of Americans. What about the other key drivers of the world economy? Because a lot of people say, look, China is slowing down, Brazil has slowed down, India has slowed down? What do you think of the emerging markets story?
I think that China is maintaining steady growth. It’s not decelerating. Europe has found its own transition path. And they will transgress through the financial system in an orderly way, India has had some slow growth, but I am really very optimistic on India.
Why is that? Because when people look at India today, they see growth is at 5.5 percent now. You talk to foreign investors and they say the infrastructure is terrible, the government doesn't do enough reform, it’s very difficult to operate in India. You look at all that and you're still bullish?
Well, I'm very bullish on India because it’s really the aspirations of a billion people. And ours is a country where all the billion count. There are some countries in the world where one person counts. There are some countries where the Politburo of 12 people count. The beauty of India is that all our billion people count. And they have aspirations. And it is really a bottom-up story. It’s not a top-down story. So, yes, we will, adjust with what happens in the rest of the world, but we are on a long-term growth trajectory. And this is just not growth in terms of GDP numbers, right. This really is for the wellbeing of each and every Indian. And that’s the aspiration.
Do you think that one of the problems India has to deal with is inequality? It is still one of the poorest countries in the world, and yet it has the second largest number of billionaires in Asia. People worry about the growing inequality.
If you think about inequality, that’s not only a problem in our country. It’s really the problem all across the world. Income comes from opportunity. You take our own example, as Reliance. My father started Reliance with 100, right. When I joined Reliance in 1980, the market value of Reliance was $30 million or $40 million. And in 30 years, the opportunities that were provided by this country has enabled us to create wealth for India. My father was a big believer that any business that has the sole purpose of making money is not worth doing. Business must serve a larger societal purpose. Reliance raised all its money from capital markets and from individual small shareholders. So we’ve created a million millionaires just by investing in Reliance out of ordinary Indians. And that is the process of creating wealth for the country. Once you create opportunity, wealth comes.