Thursday, March 03, 2005

How is India different from China?

The economist has a survey this week, and they argue that the biggest difference, the political difference, is not the key to the growth divergence between the two giants.

Here is the survey
, and what follows is a quote. I can't help but to think of the fable of the tortoise and the hare. Yes, India might take its time with reforms, but it sure seems to have a more effective way to deal with its social pressures, and that might come back to haunt China.

Take the way the two countries reacted to the recent deaths of two reformist leaders. India's P.V. Narasimha Rao, who died in December, was prime minister of India in 1991, when his government rescued the country from financial crisis and launched India's economic reforms. He served until 1996, but was later convicted of corruption. Although he won an appeal, the taint never quite left his name. His death, however, was marked by a state funeral and seven days of official mourning. The media vigorously debated his legacy.

When Zhao Ziyang, a former Chinese prime minister and head of the Communist Party, died three weeks later, he got just a couple of lines from the official news agency. He had been out of favour since siding with student protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square against hardliners in his own party in 1989. Dissidents were prevented from attending his funeral. It took two weeks to negotiate an official obituary. His successors, nervous that his memory might evoke the bloody suppression of the protests, did their best to erase it.


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