Comparing Economic Growth: China versus India

May 13, 2014

Chris Devonshire-Ellis wrote a convincing piece at China Briefing back in October 2010 that India‘s economic growth would speed past China in the near future.  It seems that many in the West are convinced that democracies are superior to countries ruled by authoritarian governments.

Chris said, “It (India’s) growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013… Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years.”

However, several years later, we discover that Chris was wrong. In February 2014, the BBC reported, “India’s economy growth slower than expected.” During the four years starting with 2010 through 2013, China’s GDP grew from $4.99 Trillion to $8.23 Trillion compared to India’s growth from $1.365 Trillion in 2010 to $1.8417 Trillion by the end of 2013.

The foundation of this prediction was based on India being a democracy “where entrepreneurs are all furiously doing their own thing” while China is a culture of secrecy and censorship. Chris mentions a few of China’s other flaws too, which China is working to overcome.

What Chris doesn’t mention is the fact that economic development in India follows socialist policies including state-ownership of many sectors—something China learned long ago doesn’t work, and then there’s the difference in poverty and illiteracy between India and China.

India and China both became independent about the same time—China in 1949 and India in 1947 and due to Chairman Mao’s policies, China suffered horribly from 1949 to 1976 and progress was slow. Than Mao died and China changed dramatically.

India, on the other hand, has had more than 60 years to solve its problems and hasn’t made much progress primarily because it is a democracy often mired in political partisanship and corruption. India is actually rated more corrupt than China but we don’t hear much about that.

Let’s see what each has accomplished in reducing illiteracy and poverty.

The World Bank says, “That China’s record of poverty reduction and growth is enviable. Between 1981 and 2004 the fraction of the population consuming less than a dollar-a-day fell from 65% to 10% and more than half a billion people were lifted out of poverty.”

For India, the World Bank reports: “poverty remains a major challenge. According to the revised official poverty line, 37.2% of the population (about 410 million people remains poor, making India home to one-third of the World’s poor people.” UNICEF shows the poverty in India to be 42%.

World Bank studies also established the direct and functional relationship between literacy and productivity on the one hand and literacy and the overall quality of human life on the other.

India’s literacy rate was about 12% when the British left in 1947. Today, literacy is 68%.

When Mao died in 1976 after a decade of suffering through twenty-seven years of mostly wrong-headed reforms ending with the Cultural Revolution, less than 20% of the people were literate, but today literacy is more than 93% with a goal to reach 99% soon.

As for India succeeding, MeriNews.com says, “At a time when we (India) are poised on the threshold of becoming a superpower, the rampant malnutrition and prevalence of anemic children and women to the extent of 48 per cent of the population is a definitive indicator that we have failed as a democracy in ensuring the fundamental requirements of our citizens.”

It appears that China—with censorship, secrecy and its one party government with a capitalist, market, consumer driven economy—has done a much better job of taking care of its people. India, on the other hand, has six national political parties and 54 political parties at the state level. Considering that America has two national political parties that can’t agree on much of anything, it’s a wonder that India gets anything accomplished.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 4/5

January 3, 2012

POVERTY & THE MAOIST REVOLTForeign Policy magazine reports that rural poverty in India is turning a Communist Revolt in to a raging resource war. “For India this is no longer rural unrest, but a full-fledged guerrilla war.”

“Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country’s bottom 200 million people. India is now one of the most economically stratified societies on the planet… The number of people going hungry in India hasn’t budged in 20 years.…”

“New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore now boast gleaming glass-and steel IT centers and huge engineering projects. But India’s vaster hinterland remains dirt poor—”

The World Hunger Index [GHI] says, “India is home to the largest number of poor in the world. The latest estimate suggests that over 400 million people live below the official poverty line… Given the nature of rural Indian economy all shades of poverty can be found in India—from moderate under-nutrition to extreme starvation.”

In fact, while China’s Communist Party and Mao are often accused and criticized for killing or allowing millions [estimates range from 16.5 million to 45 million based mostly on inflated numbers] to die of starvation in 1959 during the Great Leap Forward, “According to the 2010 GHI report, India is among 29 countries with the highest levels of hunger, stunted children, and poorly fed women.”

UNICEF reported in 2006 that, “10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths.”

If “the Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people,” as Think Quest.org says, then about two and a half million children die from malnutrition and hunger related diseases annually in India equaling twenty-five million deaths every decade or about 130 million deaths since the 1959 famine in China. In addition, the Times of India reported, India tops world hunger chart.

Continued on January 4, 2012 in The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 3/5

January 2, 2012

WATER — From National Geographic we have Mumbai’s Shadow City by Mark Jacobson—a slum holding 12 million people, who live in the middle of India’s financial capital.

Then there is Delhi with 17.3 million residents. One third of the city’s residents have little access to clean water. See Life in the Slums of Delhi, India

Foreign Policy magazine says, “In India, service delivery [of fresh water] will fall woefully short of demand in coming years across most urban infrastructure sectors.”

China, on the other hand, has long-term infrastructure projects and is drilling the world’s longest tunnel to carry water from the Yangtze River under hundreds of miles of mountains to reach Manchuria in the northeast.

Then in Tibet, China is building reservoirs to catch water from glaciers that are melting due to global warming while building villages to relocate Tibetan nomads who discover that the high altitude grasslands they once depended on to feed their herds has dried up and turned to desert due to lack of rainfall.

LITERACY — For a republic or democracy to thrive and survive the population must be literate to understand the issues and support a complex modern society.

However, according to India’s 2011 census, only 74% of India’s 1.2 billion people are considered literate in India —that means three hundred and twelve million people cannot read.

In China, literacy is more than 94% up from 20% in 1978.

What is taking India so long? It has had since 1947 to resolve this problem. What China accomplished in about 30 years, India has had sixty-four years to achieve as the world’s largest democracy.

“Adult literacy [in China]was given first priority in literacy campaigns [after 1976] designed to ‘sweep away illiteracy’ [saochu wenmang]. Because 80% of adults were illiterate, they were targeted as crucial for securing new China’s economic security.”

It may sound like a cliché, but being able to read is a form of power, and leaders know that literate and educated people have considerable influence. Source: China Philanthropy

The World Illiteracy Map says, “Illiteracy is one of the major hindrances that come in the way of economic growth. Literate manpower helps a country in developing.”

Continued on January 3, 2012 in The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 1/5

December 31, 2011

This post was originally a result of a comment on the China Law Blog, which chastised me because, “He wanted me to provide a super-quick summary of The Economist cover story comparing India with China, but it (I) did not,” which was correct then.

Returning to this subject is because of my twelve-part debate with Troy Parfitt. Mr. Parfitt claimed, “Corruption in India isn’t germane to the debate.” In fact, most if not all of the facts and comparisons used during the debate were not relevant according to Mr. Parfitt unless those facts supported his opinions of China.

At one point, Mr. Parfitt mentioned reviews of his book in Publisher’s Weekly in defense of his book not being racisit. He claimed the South China Morning Post didn’t say that. Neither did Publishers Weekly, the Korean Herald, The Vancouver Sun… and none of the Amazon reviewers [that may change].

However, Publisher’s Weekly [PW] did say this of his book, “The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider’s perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history. Parfitt argues that China will not rule the world, because as a nation it is more interested in the appearance of success than actual substance. He suggests that culturally, China has little to offer…” In addition, PW says, “his book lacks the precise facts and figures that he decries in other books promoting Chinese dominance.”

Basically, this is what the China Law Blog complained of in my post, Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines.

The facts and figures missing from Mr. Parfitt’s “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” are important as the China Law Blog says. To judge one country without comparing its government, economy and culture to other countries offers no balance for readers to make informed decisions.

Continued on January 1, 2012 in he China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and History

December 28, 2011

There appears to be an obsession in the West that India, since it is a democracy, is the developing country to counterbalance China’s economic and military growth.

The American Interest published a piece in their May/June 2010 issue – The Return of the Raj, which points out that where G. W. Bush failed to build an Indo-U.S. defense pact, Secretary of State Clinton in a visit to India in July 2009 did open the door to significant arms transfers from the U.S. to India.

If the United States and India can together rediscover and revive the Indian military’s expeditionary tradition, they will have a solid basis for strategic cooperation not only between themselves but also with the rest of the world’s democracies. Source: The American Interest

In another piece, A Himalayan rivalry, The Economist focuses on the 1962 conflict between India and China saying, “Memoires of a war between India and China are still vivid in the Tawang valley…”

However, memoires aren’t everything. There is also knowledge, and China is not the same country it was in 1962.

In 1962, some of the factors that led to the war between India and China were linked to Mao’s policies, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The Maoists were removed from power in the 1980s, and China is not the same socialist nation it was then.

Unlike India, China’s one party political system allows for quick decisions that often benefit the country.

Another important factor to remember is that China is still a collectivist nation as India is.

Due to this fact, China and India have more in common than India and America.

It does not matter that India is considered the world’s largest democracy, because to counter that, India also has a large bureaucracy that makes it difficult to get things done.

However, in India, the bureaucracy has a reputation for being tremendously arrogant and corrupt. It is a truism that Indian bureaucrats are generally smug and supercilious… source: Open India

Indian bureaucracy has often been criticized for being cumbersome and stretching procedures to sanction projects. Source: Meri News

A friend, Tom Carter, while shooting his next book in India, discovered that it was easier to travel and stay in China than India.

A study of individualist and collectivist orientations across occupational groups in India by Anjali Ghosh where he refers to a study by Sinha & Verma (1994) … that masters-level university students express more idiocentric (individualist) orientations than allocentric (collectivist) due to Western influence, immediate life concerns and exposure to mass media.

However, Verma & Triandis (1999) observed that Indian students were more vertical collectivist than U.S. students were.

Another fact is that China and India both have ancient civilizations more than 5,000 years old and they are next-door neighbors as Canada and the US are.

Note: This revised and edited post first appeared as a two-part series on September 10, 2010 as China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and Shared History – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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