literature 1 - China and India: Contrasting Experiences in...

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China and India: Contrasting Experiences in Economic Development By THOMAS E. WEISSKOPF* Any effort to compare the development experiences of modern China and India must confront the fact that the develop- ment objectives of the political leadership of the two countries have differed in im- portant ways. The Chinese Communist Party has clearly been aiming to bring about a fundamental transformation of Chinese society, involving all of its social and economic institutions as well as the attitudes and behavior patterns of the Chinese people. There have been internal differences over the extent and the pace of the change, but the overriding goal of the Chinese leadership has been to build a socialist—and ultimately a communist— society that rejects the individualistic orientation of most contemporary societies in favor of a collective and egalitarian so- cial system. The Indian political leadership has sought to bring about major changes in traditional Indian society, but it has not rejected the Western hberal,values of in- dividual freedom and property rights. In- stead, the Indian sociopohtical goals may fairly be summarized as the establishment of a form of social democracy, in which efforts are made to assure equal oppor- tunity (but not equal outcomes) in the con- * Associate professor of economics, University of Michigan. In writing this paper I have drawn both upon personal experience (four years of teaching and research in India in the 196O's and a brief visit to China in t972) and upon the extensive professional literature on mod- ern India and China. Rather than burden the text with continual footnotes and references, I have simply in- cluded the most important of my bibliographical sources in the list of references. The Twentieth Century Fund assisted in financing the research for this work; I am indebted also to the Center for Research on Economic Development at the University of Michigan for the use of its facilities. text of bourgeois political and economic in- stitutions. Within the framework of these overrid- ing social objectives, there are three broad economic objectives that have been shared by both nations: rapid economic growth, greater economic equity, and greater eco- nomic self-reliance. I define economic equity to include not only an equitable distribution of income but also the provi- sion of employment opportunities and basic social services for everyone. By economic self-reliance I mean the ability of nationals of a country—rather than for- eigners—to make decisions that affect economic activity within the country. I believe that on the whole the Chinese have been considerably more successful than the Indians in achieving the basic social goals of their development efforts. In many important ways the Chinese have succeeded in establishing more collective and egahtarian institutions and practices. India has maintained a parliamentary
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This note was uploaded on 03/18/2011 for the course ECON 181 taught by Professor Kasa during the Spring '07 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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literature 1 - China and India: Contrasting Experiences in...

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