Domestic energy production
Thorium is a relatively safe alternative to the Uranium fuel cycle currently used in Nuclear Reactors. There is a great deal of variation in the estimates for the total Thorium reserves in India, but at the low end they are estimated at about 200,00 tonnes and at the high end over 600,000 tonnes.
According to the Thorium Energy Alliance, 6kg of Thorium in an LFTR can produce 66,000MW-hr of electricity, of course this number has to be taken with a grain of salt–pun intended–since it is from an institution that is pushing for Thorium.
Let’s say for a moment that only half that energy output can be achieved and that India only has 200,000 tonnes of Thorium reserves. The total energy available would be 1.1 million terawatt-hours of electricity. To put that into perspective, the estimated world electricity usage is about 2.3 terawatts.
Roughly speaking, at the very low estimate, India could produce all the world’s energy, at current production rate for a sustained 50 years. At the high end, it could do the same for roughly 300 years.
In the very least, a viable Thorium program in India would mean an incredible amount of energy output for the foreseeable future. This combined with a massive source of labor can easily produce massive growth potential.
Like all other forms of investment, diversification is important. A combination of real estate, currency, and energy investments seem like good options to me. Given that many of the markets in India are still emerging, it’s difficult to say which ones will perform the best, although Thorium will become a large one if they can work out the remaining issues when turning it into a viable option.
Self Directed Growth of India
Some might think that what I mean by investment in India is just to buy up a bunch of businesses, or create massive call centers, after all, this has been a rather unfortunate occurrence. However, this is not true investment. It does not produce the sustained growth and it most certainly does little to benefit the people of India. As much as possible, investment should occur with the aid of native Indian investors and the driving force should be from the people of India, rather than from foreign investors.
A possible model, and one that I’m using for a theoretical project of a “privately” run city is the use of customer owned REITs. A REIT is a type of mutual fund that is used to invest in real estate. However, the concept, unlike a traditional REIT, is to have the majority of the shares owned by employees and tenants. India does not utilize REITs at the moment, but the government is in the process of creating a framework for them. Doing so could help solve the current housing problem in India.
Threat of Collapse
Earlier I mentioned the negatives of investing in China due to the aging population, but I want to further point out that this population inversion is not just a threat to China but to the rest of the world. If China does not turn its population growth around and the weight of the elderly collapses China’s economy, the effects will be felt throughout the world. This would be especially true in the United States. For instance, a contracting economy in China may cause its government to sell the US debt it holds. “If [China] stops buying or elects to sell even a small portion of its position, Treasury prices would fall and yields would rise. The result of higher rates, in turn, would likely be slower economic growth and higher borrowing costs for the U.S. government.”  This effect once again highlights the reason why government is insufficient when it comes to finding solutions to resource management problems.
Risk from Government
If the recent chaos in India, due to the unannounced removal of two of its most used bills from its currency system are any indication, the biggest threat to India right now is India’s government (not surprising). So while there is much potential in India, we will need to continue to see if its government puts a halt to it and prevent India from becoming an economic powerhouse.