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June 09, 2005

Think India

Jim Hoagland picks up my favorite undermade argument and turns in a convincing column that India, not China, will be the next great economic power.  Their government is more flexible, their industries more advanced, their people better educated, their economy more stable, and their path forward more obvious.  China can't rely on manufacturing forever, and it's really unclear whether or not they can make the jump to an advanced economy, particularly considering their massively undereducated rural population and the command/control nature of their government.  Yes, I know they're more capitalist than communist, but that's too often taken to mean they're not communist, which just isn't true.  Anyway, read the op-ed, it's thought provoking stuff.

June 9, 2005 in Economics | Permalink

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Comments

Also, China's banks are a looming disaster area.

Posted by: Katherine | Jun 9, 2005 7:32:39 PM

plus, many indias speak english -- i bet the number is higher in these area -- percentage of population and total number of people in the population.

english is the lingua franca of the world nowadays.

Posted by: harry near indy | Jun 9, 2005 10:15:07 PM

Given a choice of China or India as the world's next super power, I'd prefer India.

Posted by: fiat lux | Jun 9, 2005 10:35:40 PM

India is trying to do something very bold; to move from a preindustrial economy directly into a postindustrial economy. It's far from clear if it's possible, especially in such a large country.

Posted by: Carlos | Jun 9, 2005 11:23:55 PM

I couldn't evaluate the overall argument here, but I CAN say that it's simply wrong that Indian people are more educated than the Chinese. That's the one thing Mao accomplished: universal literacy and a pretty good education system. India's rural population is drastically less educated than China's--never mind the technology colleges for the top students.

People here tend to forget that for all India's dynamism, it's much more of a developing country than China. It's per-capita GDP is lower, though it might be rising faster. All in all, I don't think this thesis can be validated by fact beyond the superiority of Indian politics over Chinese.

Posted by: Marshall | Jun 10, 2005 10:52:54 AM

Second what Marshall says. Yeah, I'd like for a democracy to be the next rising power, and India should never be underestimated, but let's not let our wishes override the facts. What are we, Republicans?

GDP in PPP: India $3.39tr. / China $7.7262tr.
GDP/capita: India $3100 / China $5600

"Their government is more flexible, their industries more advanced, their people better educated, their economy more stable, and their path forward more obvious."

Possibly excepting the "economy more stable", I can't think of a single one of these that is true.

Industries more advanced? Then why are the world's manufacturers terrified of or investing in China now? B

Better educated? Hoagland touts 70% literacy, as if that's something to tout --- China is @ 90%, with a male/female split of 95%/86%. India is @ 60% only according the World Factbook, with a male/female split of 70%/48.3%. Seriously, Rwanda has a better literacy rate.

The path forward doesn't seem all that obvious to me --- you're not going to take that mediocre literacy rate and those 60% of Indians still working the farms and turn all of them, or even 25% of them into English-speaking back office staffers. Moving out of Third World agricultural poverty requires first the mass employment of vast reservoirs of unskilled labor --- pretty much China's plan. As shown historically, the easiest way to do this is by creating lots and lots of low-skilled industrial jobs and then climbing the production ladder.
How exactly does India plan on employing the rural poor? I'd like to know. Hoagland entirely ignores the question.

Posted by: ckrisz | Jun 11, 2005 11:27:17 AM

All of those claims are rediculous. Have you been to both countries and visited the financial captitals down to the cities and even the rural areas. I can tell you the two countries are very different.

"Their government is more flexible"
Wrong, despite what you think, China isn't communist. China is ran by technocrats with a dose of realism, they will do anything to enhance the economy and promote growth. They have far better long term vision than the India's messy "democrazy" that still votes in communists and demagogues.

"their industries more advanced"
Wrong again, China leads in every industry except software outsourcing. Do you see "made in india" often? Oh that topic, I fail to see how 1 million IT jobs can bring to the 21st century the rest of India. But on the subject of IT, China does infact have a superior domestic software industry. So their IT industry is doing much more for their country than India's.

"their people better educated"
This is bullshit, China has a much higher literacy rate at 90.9%. India is at 59.5%. The avg IQ of China is around 100, it is around 81 for India. For the record, I think IQ is a good measure of education, health and social progress.

"their economy more stable"
I don't see how an economy that is in essence trying to be an antithesis of development can be more stable than proven methods. Every industrial power has gone agriculture->manufacturing->service. China is going down this path. India is trying to go agriculture->service, leaving out a terribly blank space in between and continues to miss the manufacturing bus.

"their path forward more obvious"
You are letting your nationalism blind you once again here. I think the path the chinese have chosen is pretty obvious, it follows closely with the S.Korean and Taiwan model. Heavy-handed rule, rapid economic growth, emergence of middle-class, then comes democracy.

On a few more things, You can't find a communist in China, not even a socialist. They don't even have free education and healthcare for christ sake. India is far more communist than China and has a way bigger rural problem facing it.

As a suggestion, Learn from the Chinese, they do more than talk.

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 16, 2007 10:21:38 PM

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