Western ideas have to be adapted like China and not to be followed like India

Synopsis: The key to China’s immense growth is that it focuses on itself instead of trying to live up to the expectations of the Western countries. India could learn a few lessons from China as it struggles to match up. 


China and India are the two oldest civilizations but are also the youngest nation-states. Both countries modernized in the late 1940s. China went ahead and imitated the USSR and its authoritarianism. 

  • China although rejected the Soviet Union as an ideal, continued with authoritarianism. India followed the path of democracy and proved western experts wrong. Because western experts predicted that Indian democracy would collapse soon after Independence.
  • Indian democracy was successful among the common people of the country. Despite that, studies generally focus on the failures of democracy in India. 
  • The greatest failure of Indian democracy as pointed out by many critics is, not able to match the expectations of western democracies.
  • However, China has not faced such criticism.

How China managed to develop on its own?

  • First, China kept local needs and aspirations in mind while using western concepts. They moulded western ideas according to their needs. On the other hand, India simply tried to live up to standards set by the west.
    • For example, China abandoned the Soviet economic model as it realized its limitations. It abandoned the Material Product System (MPS) of the Soviets. This method calculated the value of goods based on state-determined prices. It also not used to include the service sector.
    • China moved towards the western ideas of Gross Domestic Product and start calculating the value of goods and services on market prices. This gave a psychological boost to the Chinese, and it helped revive nationalism among the young in China.
    • Since India used GDP calculation from the beginning. When the economy has not grown enough India did not switch to local calculation. Instead, Indian economists start convincing global and local people.
  • Second, timeline of Chinese economy growing larger than Indian economy: 
    • China adopted the GDP as a criterion to evaluate the wealth of the nation in 1993. At that time, Its GDP was $0.444 trillion. It was one and a half times higher than the GDP of India.
    • India’s GDP crossed $1 trillion and china was touching the $5-trillion figure in 2008. China’s GDP remains almost five times more than India’s.
  • Last, China used and moulded western idea sets to create a knowledge economy. They spent a substantial amount of money on research and set up their own peer review systems. But India did not spend on research like China did.

The conclusion

  • Despite India gaining Independence from the British, western norms and ideas are still assimilated into the minds of Indians. This is the reason for India to remain a follower of western ideas. 


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