Friday, October 10, 2008

Why My Money is On China Over India

There are better ways to use a head
The great question of the 21st century is who will become the greater world power: India or China?

Both have rapidly growing economies and are modernizing quickly. While China has the early lead, some believe that India will eventually overtake them because democracies have a superiority track record of maintaining societal stability.

I am putting my money on China based on this statistic from The Economist:
India's top computer scientists are feted around the world, yet most children in rural areas lack the basic education needed to find more productive work. Around half of all Indian women are illiterate, compared with a ratio of around one in seven in China.
Democracy, shemocracy, if you can't educate your girls, what is the point? An educated populace is key to economic and world power in the 21st century, and with a female illiteracy rate that high, there is no way that India will be in the same ballpark as China.

I would also argue that sentencing 250 million women to a lifetime of illiteracy makes India a worse human rights violator than China. According to UN's Declaration of Human Rights elementary education is considered a human right and I would interpret that to include literacy.

If I had to choose between being illiterate or losing an arm, I would choose the arm without a second thought. Imagine the outrage if 1/2 of all Indian women were missing an arm. And yet what is happening now is even worse.

There is no way India is going to overtake China until they get serious about female education and literacy.

Update: Looks like at least one person is taking this seriously as Victor Lyons is on a mission to make one million rural Indian women literate over five years.


Audacious Epigone said...

GNXP's Godless has, equipped with a human biodiversity perspective, dealt with it in the past. He places his bet on China, for four major reasons:

1. Racial and religious homogeneity (91% Han)

In contrast, India is much more diverse. The Hindu nation has over 150 million Muslims, making it home to the third largest Islamic population in the world.

2. No neighbor as hostile as Pakistan.

While China may eventually butt heads with another nuclear power, Russia, over Chinese expansion into Russia's vast and resource rich territory east of the Urals, it has no conflict with a neighbor that approaches the animosity that exists between India and Pakistan.

3. A higher GDP and higher growth rate, and far better infrastructure
In 2006, foreign direct investment in China was nearly six times greater than FDI in India, in spite of the CPC's notorious cautious approach toward such inflows. Capital markets are providing insight into where the bulk of the growth is going to be.

4. The possible wild card: the ability of the Communist party to push genetic engineering.

In 1993, 91% percent of Chinese genetic scientists reported that they supported eugenic policies for the betterment of the nation. The one-child policy has already prepared Han Chinese (to whom it applied) for demographic engineering, and a Confucian ethos is compatible with it. So I agree with all four of his points.

Godless cites a larger Chinese male surplus as a potential disadvantage for the Middle Kingdom. But the CIA factbook's most recent data puts the male advantage under 15 years of age at 17 million for both countries. Since China has a couple hundred million more people, that means the Indian female shortfall is more acute than is the Chinese, not the other way around and Godless asserts. Further, there is a larger market for Southeast Asian wives in China than in India, where arranged marriages and caste considerations are still common.

Then there is what may be the most important Chinese advantage of all--a more intelligent (if truculent) population. In IQ and the Wealth of Nations, Lynn and Vanhanen estimate China's average IQ to be 100, compared to India's 81. Among the nations of the world with an average IQ near or above the three-digit threshold, China is virtually alone (North Korea is a rare companion in this sense) in its relative poverty. The breakdown of staggeringly inhibitive governmental controls seems to be propelling China to its 'rightful' seat at the top of the economic pack.

Earlier this year, the WSJ ran a feature article on affirmative action policies in India restricting Brahmin access to government positions. AA is a consequence of greater racial/ethnic diversity and is likely to further retard India's growth.

Fat Knowledge said...


Interesting points.

Do you have any idea how much the average IQ of an Indian could be increased by a good education system? I believe you said before that IQ isn't all hereditary.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the extra 34 million male surplus of India and China. What will they end up doing?

On the racial and religious homogeneity, that is true, but it certainly didn't stop bad Chinese governments in the 1400s from ruining China as a world power. I also believe that humans just find a way to differentiate themselves. If it isn't race or religion than it is urban/rural or liberal/conservative. Or else religions get broken down into subsets which consider themselves different. Christianity breaks into Catholicism and Mormonism in such a way that others don't believe that they are really Christian.

I think more the homogeneity the important thing is for a culture to be accepting of good ideas from wherever they come. China is really good at that right now, getting the best architects from around the world and they are trying to take all the good ideas from Western businesses. I think diverse cultures have a natural advantage here, but the Chinese have done a good job on it recently.

Affirmative action is a tricky one for me. I can see what you are saying. On the other hand, India's growth is greatly retarded because those in the lower caste are not living up to their full potential. If AA helps to break out of that, I think it is worth the short term issues for the long term gain.

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