Thoughts on the Indian Economy

Thinking about assorted economic issues in India.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

China v India-- Hard Truths

Response to

Gurcharan Das is a very interesting and thought-provoking writer, but I agree that the China v India comparison is comparing apples to oranges at this point. The two countries were very similar in 30 years ago, but their trajectories have hugely deviated since then. One hard truth is that China's government has ensured a much better basic life for its people. Some fundamental indicators pulled from Human Development Report 2007 (

Probability at birth of not surviving to age 40 (% of cohort): (Chi v Ind) 6.8 v 16
Life expectancy at birth: 72.5 v 63.7
Children underweight for age (% under age 5): 8 v 47
Infants with low birthweight (%) : 4 v 30
Adult illiteracy rate (% aged 15 and older) : 9.1 v 39
Population living below $2 a day (%): 34.9 v 80.4

What the next 30 years holds is hard to predict. India’s democracy ensures that it will take care of its basic “roti, kapda, makaan” issues….eventually. And economic hardships are shaking up China’s undemocratic underpinnings. But current human existence in the two countries appears to be very different.


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