INDIA OR CHINA - WHO'S FIRST?
To a question: Does the U.S. still set the tone for the wor India is becoming a powerhouse very fast. The medical school in New Delhi is now perhaps the best in the world. And the technical graduates of the Institute of Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also, India has 150 million people for whom English is their main language. So India is indeed becoming a knowledge center. In contrast, the greatest weakness of China is its incredibly small proportion of educated people. China has only 1.5 million college students, out of a total population of over 1.3 billion. If they had the American proportion, they'd have 12 million or more in college. Those who are educated are well trained, but there are so few of them. And then there is the enormous undeveloped hinterland with excess rural population. Yes, that means there is enormous manufacturing potential. In China, however, the likelihood of the absorption of rural workers into the cities without upheaval seems very dubious. You don't have that problem in India because they have already done an amazing job of absorbing excess rural population into the cities—its rural population has gone from 90% to 54% without any upheaval.
Everybody says China has 8% growth and India only 3%, but that is a total misconception. We don't really know. I think India's progress is far more impressive than China's.
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Alex Bensky - 1/15/2004
This is a very good point. It's not uncommon to see apologists for repression claim that China has such-and-such a growth rate that is higher than India's. But we don't really know what the Chinese rate is, and statistics from its government are, to be polite, unverifiable.