At the LSE podcast (feed) Professor Pranab Bardhan appeared with two consecutive lectures comparing China and India. As the title of both his book and his two lectures, Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay, both powers are rising quickly, but in spite of their increasing economic weight, each has their own set of major problems to overcome.
The first lecture is the more technical of the two. Bardhan delivers the figures of both economies and gives an analysis how these should be interpreted. There is a funny line he recalls from his Indian socialist friends in the past. They would say, China is doing better, because they are better socialists than we are. Today, Bardhan jests, probably the Chinese do better, because they are better capitalists than the Indians. Although some of the figures seem to indicate that, India is not lost without advantages. And we awaited the second lecture to find about problems on both sides.
In the second lecture, when the huge problems of both countries, poverty, illiteracy, the position of women, minorities, lack of democracy, corruption and lack of accountability and so on, are summed up, India does not come out better or with better prospects than China. The challenges each country faces is very different from the other. The conclusion is that it very much remains to be seen how India and China will handle them and how they will come out and whether they indeed will rise to the kind of power that everybody seems to believe they do.
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Israeli at the London School of Economics.