India vs China

Two stories from TIME magazine:

China’s ME Generation and A Young Giant Awakens — 60 Years of Independence

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… The one subject that doesn’t come up — and almost never does when this tight-knit group of friends gets together — is politics. That sets them apart from previous generations of Chinese élites, whose lives were defined by the epic events that shaped China’s past half-century: the Cultural Revolution, the opening to the West, the student protests in Tiananmen Square and their subsequent suppression. The conversation at Gang Ji Restaurant suggests today’s twentysomethings are tuning all that out. “There’s nothing we can do about politics,” says Chen. “So there’s no point in talking about it or getting involved.”

That’s the story from China. Now consider this:

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True, India, a noisy nation of over 1 billion voices, can’t match the hyper-affluence of Singapore or China’s titanic boom, but it shows that hearing those voices is the best long-term strategy. “Attila the Hun was great for his country’s GDP also,” says Akbar, “but the future of the world is not just about growth rates. It’s about the principle of human equality.” India is neither East nor West as Kipling saw it, but in its diversity and exuberance a reflection of something universal. It is, as Akbar concludes, “the first modern nation of the emerging world.” A nation where, more than anything else, democracy rules.

I do not know how much of this is truth and how much of it is the mere perception of a western journalist (or the over-simplification of ground realities, or stereotyping).

It does, however, provide the contrast between the two nations that most folks from the western hemisphere do not realize exists.

We have to ask the question, though: how much of an advantage is democracy to India and does it really matter in the long run ?

Only time (no pun intended !) will tell .

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One Response to “India vs China”

  1. Ah Beng Says:

    A large and developing nation such as India needs a very centralized form of government. I would liken India to the weimar republic; possible times 100. There is just too much chaos and opinions around to have a relatively clean and efficient government. A centralized government who has the foresight and the views of the majority is necessary. I cannot name any country who has a large population which didnt have a totalitarian government first before it became a democracy.

    If you think about it India has too many problems and too little wealth. It needs a totalitarian government before a democratic one. Such as the case with S. Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. They had autocratic rule (often under the guise of democracy) before they had democracy in action.


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