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

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The Politics of Fear – Part 5/5

September 18, 2011

The prescription that leads to a successful “noble or big lie” is keeping people semi-literate or illiterate so it is more difficult to recognize the “Politics of Fear”.

However, what is literacy and how do we define it? There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, the most common definition is the ability to read and write at a specified age.

In addition, literacy is learned, while illiteracy is passed along by parents who cannot read or write, and in 2003, 5% of Americans that read Below Basic did not graduate from high school, 44% spoke no English before starting school, 39% are Hispanic/Latino adults, 20% are African-American/Black adults, 25% are age 65+ and 21% have multiple disabilities.

But, at 18, many of these illiterate people are eligible to vote and votes can be influenced with little and BIG lies—especially when the voter reads at Basic or below, which is more than 40% of the population of the United States.


Manufacturing Consent: Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies

NCES.ed.gov says that in the United States, “14% of the people read ‘Below Basic’, which means no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills; 29% read at the ‘Basic’ level, which means these people can perform simple and everyday literacy activities; 44% read at the ‘Intermediate’ level, which means they can perform moderately challenging literacy activates, and 13% of readers are ‘Proficient’, which means many of these readers can perform complex and challenging literacy activates” and are the most difficult to fool.What is more shocking is that compared to the rest of the world, the U.S. is doing well.

According to the latest International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), between 19% and 23% of American adults performed at the top levels for each of the three literacy scales: document literacy, prose literacy and quantitative (number) literacy. Sweden is the only country that scored higher. People that are literate and read often are harder to fool.

Yet, many Americans are being left behind. The same survey found that between 21% and 24% of U.S. adults performed at the lowest level. Source: Education-Portal.com

The state of literacy in America explains why neoconservative voices such as Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck may influence millions of listeners and talk to them as if they cannot think or reason.

In fact, Rush Limbaugh often says on his neo-conservative radio talk show that he will do the thinking for his audience so they do not have to, and his audience may be as large as 30 million—which is a large number of votes to influence.

This also may explain why ABC World News started their piece about China’s first aircraft carrier with, “the U.S. government directed a pointed question at the Chinese military: Why would you need a warship like that?”

Since China is now the world’s number one energy consumer and the second largest economy, why not, if it is in China’s national interest to have an aircraft carrier?

In addition, if Brazil, France, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Britain all have one or more aircraft carriers, why can’t China join that club?

How is this a threat to America, which has twenty aircraft carriers?

What we have is simple language for simple minds to generate fear and control public opinion. If you read the ABC World News piece, you will notice they don’t mention the other countries that have aircraft carriers or how many the U.S. has.

Return to The Politics of Fear – Part 4 or start with 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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Why Blaming China is Wrong

March 14, 2011

It wasn’t until I finished reading Jonathan Fahey’s piece for the Associated Press of a new drilling method opening vast oil fields in the US that I discovered more evidence of how wrong many Americans are of China.

North Americans that blame China for lost jobs react from “ignorance” and “anger” — not facts.

Most are incapable of understanding the complexity of America’s suffering economy and are unwilling to sacrifice so the US can compete globally in manufacturing.

Unable and/or unwilling to understand, these people need a scapegoat so politicians running for office give them one — China.

The clue came when Fahey wrote, “At today’s oil prices of roughly $90 per barrel, slashing imports that much would save the U.S. $175 billion a year. Last year, when oil averaged $78 per barrel, the U.S. sent $260 billion overseas for crude, accounting for nearly half the country’s $500 billion trade deficit.”

What happens in China is not the reason for lost US jobs.

In fact, most of what China earns in global trade from exports is spent in other nations such as Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Myanmar and South Africa until Chinese exports and imports are about even.

That $260 billion the US spent for imported oil that added to the deficit revealed the truth. Many in the US are unwilling to sacrifice for the good of the country.

However, as the Amy Chua Tiger Mother debate reveals, the real culprit of the trade deficit in the US is illiteracy caused by the average parent focused on the child’s daily fun instead of his or her education and the work it takes to earn it.

Begin to Read.com says, “Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy.” Then the site provides a few statistics to make its point.


“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

  • Literacy is learned. Parents who cannot read or write pass along illiteracy. (Did you notice there was no mention of teachers getting the blame? As long as parents blame someone or something else, illiteracy in the US will not improve.)
  • One child in four in the US grows up not knowing how to read.
  • Forty-three percent of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
  • Three of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels
  • Ninety percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts—according to NumberOf.net, there are about 50 million Americans collecting some form of welfare.
  • Over 70% of the more than two million inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.

According to literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

Studies say that about 13% of the adult population was at or above proficient in literacy. Since there are about 230 million adults in America that means only 30 million are proficient.

A CBS report on The Future of Jobs in America said,Education has to be the final part of the strategy for job growth.”

Illiteracy is America’s “real” culprit and it is not the fault of China or America’s teachers. It is the fault of parents and middle-class Americans unwilling to sacrifice by changing spending and lifestyle habits.

Until most Americans face the facts, nothing is going to change. It is only going to get worse until there is no one left to blame but the face in the mirror. By then, it may be too late.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The India, China battle to eliminate poverty and illiteracy

November 2, 2010

Chris Devonshire-Ellis wrote a convincing piece at China Briefing that India‘s economic growth would speed past China in the near future. 

He says, “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, there are flaws in that opinion.

Once again, the foundation of this prediction is 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 struggling to overcome.

What Chris doesn’t mention is 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.  Due to Chairman Mao’s policies, China suffered horribly from 1949 to 1976 and little progress was made.

For China, most of the progress has taken place in the last three decades. India, on the other hand, has had more than 60 years to solve its problems.

Let’s see what each has accomplished.

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 says, “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%.

In China, literacy is more than 93% with a goal to reach 99% in the next few years.

This means that India has about 800 million literate people competing with 1.2 billion in China.

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 its censorship, secrecy and socialist government—has done a much better job of taking care of its citizens.

See the other posts on this topic at India Falling Short and Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


India Falling Short

October 22, 2010

On October 13, I posted Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines, which referred to a flawed opinion piece in The Economist predicting that the future economic growth of India would eventually surpass China.

I felt that The Economist’s opinion was flawed because it was based primarily on a multi-party democracy being superior to the one-party republic in China.

However, reading that issue of The Economist painted a grim picture for India. It is as if The Economist were promising that India was going to sprout wings and fly – then the piece goes into a long list of facts that prove it cannot happen anytime soon.

The China Law Blog chastised me for being unfair to India. The Blog said, “that 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.

In fact, I don’t see how I could have quickly summarized the complexity of India’s economy.

To create an in-depth profile of China, I’ve written hundreds of posts.  To talk about the reason India’s economy will not surpass China for a long time led to this post, which may be the longest single post I’ve written.

Sorry, it isn’t a super-quick summary. At thirteen hundred words, it’s just quick.

Next, Manjeet Pavarti challenged my opinion in a comment to the post.

It is obvious that Pavarti must be a nationalist who loves his country—an admirable trait except when a patriot is misguided and possibly misinformed.

In Pavarti’s last comment of October 16 at 01:33, he challenged my sources—a photojournalist (Tom Carter) with extensive experience traveling in China and India, and my use of evidence from The Economist.

To correct the shortcomings of the first post on this topic, I talked to Gurnam S. Brard, the author of East of Indus, My Memoires of Old Punjab. He agreed with my opinion and said there are many in India like Pavarti that refuse to see the problems that hold India back from achieving its potential.

I also talked to Alon Shalev, author of The Accidental Activist. Shalev told me of his extensive trip through India with his wife and his impressions were the same as Tom Carter and Gurnam Brard.

Next, is Foreign Policy magazine’s Prime Numbers, Mega Cities, where there are no opinions—just facts. I’m going to list “three” that are roadblocks to India future economic growth.

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 under hundreds of miles of mountains to reach Manchuria in the northeast from the Yangtze River.

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, only 66% of India’s 1.2 billion people are considered literate—that’s more than four hundred million people who cannot read.

In China, literacy is 93.3% up from 20% in 1978.

“Prior to 1978 … Adult literacy was given first priority in literacy campaigns 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 cliché, but reading was (and continues to be) power, and leaders knew that the literate could 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.”

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—”

China, on the other hand, has managed to contain the Falun Gong problem and the Tibetan and Islamic separatists over the objections of Western human rights activists that cannot stand how China manages unrest.

Due to what many in the West would call brutal measures, harmony and economic progress continue as planned for the vast majority of Chinese.

In addition, in rural China, “Living standards soared in the early 1980s—average incomes doubled in both the cities and the countryside, while there was a boom in both food consumption and the availability of consumer goods.” Source: Socialist Review Index.org.uk

“Growth in (China’s) peasant income, which had reached a rate of 15.2% a year from 1978 to 1984, dropped to 2.8% a year from 1986 to 1991. Some recovery occurred in the early 1990s, but stagnation of rural incomes marked the latter part of the decade.” Source: Asia Times

In fact, the last five-year plan extends electricity to rural China and subsidizes the cost of appliances for rural villages once the electricity is turned on

Tom Carter, one of my sources for this post, is currently living in a small rural village in the tea-producing region of China near Hangzhou and has internet access from a village of twenty people.

I agree that India has the potential to surpass China, but I doubt that will happen in the next few decades due to the economic long-term problems that have to be overcome.

I don’t know where Manjeet Pavarti lives, but I suspect it isn’t outside of the gleaming glass and steel cites like New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore.

People living inside these economic growth bubbles may have no idea how serious it is outside and probably don’t care or India would be dealing with these challenges as China has been doing since Mao died in 1976 when Deng Xiaoping and his supporters ended the Cultural Revolution and rejected Maoism.

India became a democracy in 1947, which means it has had more than sixty years to solve these problems, while China has had less than thirty since 1982 when the Republic got its new constitution.

Isn’t it ironic how the West seldom hears about India’s problems but always hears about every bit of negative news that happens in China.

See Democracy, Deceit and Mob Rule and Two Republics

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Education Chinese Style – Part 6

February 11, 2010

Guess who taught me to read—my mother. When I was seven, education experts said I would never read. My mother didn’t blame them. She blamed herself and went to work to fix the problem. She told me she came home from that meeting and cried. Then she got out the coat hanger.

No matter how much I complained, I learned to read at home. Today, many American parents don’t spend enough time with their children.

Inside a Shanghai Bookstore

In America, many kids don’t like to read. To get the students I taught to read for half-an-hour a day was like pulling teeth with oily fingers. Instead, they watch television or spend hours on the Internet or hang out with friends after school.

The largest bookstore in Shanghai, China, is several stories tall with elevators and escalators. You have to wait in line to reach another floor. The bookstores I visit in Shanghai when I’m there are always crowded. On the other hand, in the United States bookstores are going out of business as if a book plague struck. In China, new ones are opening all the time.

  See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.