Jan 3, 2006 2:45 am


I am an unabashed cheer leader of India. Indeed, the most important story of the past year is the new strategic alliance between the US and the most populous democracy in the world. Indian success will prove that the autocratic Chinese way is not the only, or even the most efficacious way to real cutting edge development. Freedom is. Just read Sebastian Mallaby's report on the growth of private schools in India:

Of course, India's progress isn't simple. The best engineers get snapped up by industry, so it's hard to find decent teachers to staff Vellore and other engineering schools. As a result, many of the new colleges teach kids little of value, and some science graduates end up unemployed. But the story of Vellore points to an important lesson. Apparently unconnected development policies -- cuts in tariffs and oppressive business regulation, or projects to build roads and power grids -- can sometimes stimulate new educational enrollment at least as much as direct investments in colleges or schools.

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