I've never been to China or India, so I'm just going to talk through my hat here about the images of the two countries in the imagination of Stuff White People Like white people such as, well, me. In general, India seems to win hands down in a contest of stereotypical images in the heads of SWPLs:
China looks at pictures of the old-fashioned Modern America that went to the Moon and says: "We want some of that."
But is India becoming more like postmodern America or is postmodern America becoming more like India? Maybe India is already at where postmodernism leads? That the future for the postmodernist U.S. is Indian-style inequality and ineffectuality?
Consider, for example, India's addiction to arranged marriages. A generation ago, that would have seemed appalling to Americans. But, now, at the upper reaches of American society, I sense an unspoken but growing sense suspicion that maybe the Indians have got it right about marriages.
The upper middle class spends much time and money stage-managing their children's lives to get them into the right institutions with the right sort of people for them to find the right sort of spouse, but then the ungrateful little scions fail to pull the trigger. So, why not take the next step and instead of just hiring tutors and consultants to get them into nice colleges and nice law schools, go all the way and hire matchmaking consultants to get them a nice husband or wife?
I'm not saying that any SWPL has yet even articulated this thought internally, but the logic of social trends is leading in that direction. And once that thought starts to pop up in the minds of the SWPLs as they age, what ideological barrier is there? Are they going to tell themselves, "We are Westerners! Oriental despotism is not for us." Yeah, right.
What about women's rights as an ideological impediment? Well, that's more plausible, but the SWPLs who are going to seriously consider hiring matchmakers for their children are going to be not patriarchal fathers, but instead mothers with high-powered careers. They hire consultants all the time on the job, so why not hire a consultant to help their children find a mate?
Here's an interesting betting proposition: What is the under-over line for the year of America's First Arranged Gay Marriage? 2022?