Saturday, October 4, 2008

Will India Beat China?

This is my response to a fellow Xing-member's question posed in a forum.
I have reproduced it for the benefit of the non-Xing people.
It is not a zero sum game.
And "beat", that is not politically correct, is it? :-)

What are we looking at? Economic prosperity? Standard of living?

Never been to China so it would not be appropriate for me to comment on China, but having spent my entire life in India, I think I can comment on India.

India does not need to beat anyone.
I am taking a higher moral ground here.
As long as there is one person below the poverty line in India, it remains beaten.
No matter what the GDP is or where it stands in the world.
And believe me, India has a long way to go.
It would require a combination of economic growth and political will to do so.

China has an advantage. A totalitarian regime (I do not not mean this in any disparaging sense) can focus its resources like no democracy can. So if the Chinese government plays its cards right, it will emerge as a supreme economic power. However, I have not known any one set of person to continuously make right decisions. So, China needs to be careful. The race to become supreme should not make it vulnerable to sudden collapse.

So what we have is a comparison between a meandering growth versus a highly focused one. Difficult to compare. I hope both win (as I said this is not a zero sum game). Because the cost of failure for any one or both is too high - particularly with the kind of population that live in these countries.

Note: The photograph used belongs to Kevin Luu. Please go here to see more such photographs.

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