Can India Defeat China?

Can India compete with China in all spheres of development? Will India ever be able to surpass China?

These questions are raised ever so frequently in our developing economies, when we set goals and debate out their achieve-ability. Looking at the mere facts and figures it might seem impossible, but tables might just turn in our favour.


China initially went through tremendous growth, in the 1990s without any major political upheavals. This was facilitated by a communist government. A dictatorship along socialist lines allows for central planning, so that resources are not wasted, nor is coordination disturbed by the individual dreams of more than a million people. Population expansion can be checked in one stroke, and the Herculean task of educating so many people becomes a cakewalk.


Though the literacy level in China is as high as 90%, but the students are trained to remain standardized machines, with no opportunity of creative expression. This creativity nipped in the bud leads to a generation of individuals crippled in terms of new ideas and possibilities. Another problem China faces is the fact that 70% of her educated youth lacks basic language skills and thus finds it much tougher to find good jobs that uses their full potential and skill.


Despite these, China has managed to maintain a rate of trade growth as high as 50%. It enjoys the availability of cheep labour, better technology in the electronic and allied sectors. The Chinese are racially much stronger and doubly hard working as Indians. It is these, along with the fact that China has an open economy that has led foreign trade investments in China twice as much as in India. Today, you find most factories companies setting up their factories and manufacturing units so that their goods are made, as per international specifications, at much cheaper rates, in china. This fact is borne out and illustrated in the ‘made in china’ logos on all out watches, mobile phones, and I-pods.

China has vast offshore oil sources and thus they rely less on the fluctuations in the Middle East to determine their economic pattern.


Despite these clear advantages China seems to have, there are some loopholes where the economy is bound to trip up. The most blatant seems the stagnation of resources. The Chinese resource map shows the resources to be concentrated in one part of the nation, and centralized planning has ignored the principle of sustained development, baring the economy to the backlash of 15 years of singularly efficient reforms. It It has managed to restrict its population growth today. With the loss of rice bowl jobs ( jobs that guarantee job security ), the quality of life an average person enjoys is deteriorating. China is today facing what we might call, the side effects of communism. China has the greatest amount of wealth disparity in the world. It is the third most corrupt nation, and the scenario shall continue to worsen unless there is a movement towards a more liberal polity in the near future, which again shall expose the country to the ill effects of a capitalist economy, drawing no distinction between that of India and herself.


India on the other hand, having a democratic polity and economy, shows less chances of a great political uprising, among her people. This stability is a major of rock in stabilizing the Indian economy. According to Maya Bhandari, three of the most important advantages India has over china are a well developed and mature securities market, a strong an efficient banking system, and a free and uncensored business press. This allows the economy to grow in a far more informed way. There is robust growth and job security. Poverty, unemployment, institutional conservatism, though play an important role in the dynamics of the economy, there is a general acceptance among the populace and governance alike towards changing it. The Indian educated youth, is far better trained than that in China. India has better international relations with the rest of the world, and geographically is very strategically placed, not merely moderating the climate, but also claiming better relations with the globally important world on its either side. It has a large population willing to work and grow.


Therefore when the question comes to mere possibility, we look not only at black and white economics, but at the human factor, which lies at the heart of any social phenomenon. ‘Can’ opens up a future of dreams and fantasy that can be put to fact. Human effort can amalgamate this possibility of reality, and when we think of India outgrowing china, not today, not in a definite period of time, sometime in the future.


And of course, in case we speak of outgrowing in terms of population, we can once again greet the same answer- a bold confident yes!


Jinal Dadiya