China vs. India == Central Command vs. Individual

You would have heard, read many articles these days comparing booming economy of China and India, explaining and comparing how each country is poised to be the next century economy hub. Here is an interesting article published in Economic Times, India. The author writes ..

So in India, when we build one Sardar Sarovar dam, thousands pour out to galvanise public opinion, right or wrong, in their favour. But when China decides to build the world’s biggest dam – the Three Gorges — nobody gets to know how many get displaced and hopefully rehabilitated. Whether the executive and political talent of China is individually as good as ours may be questioned, but collectively, it is an unbeatable delivery machine.

Now, the micro level. An average Indian is a free bird. He can be born the poorest in the remotest part but can rise to the highest chair in the country. He can choose to work or not work. He can work wherever he wishes to work and whichever way he decides to work. The legacy of the value system favours the citizen, inflicting him with only softer indictments. He can be as ruthless as he chooses in his expression for or against anyone. Therefore, an Indian is supposedly in charge of his individual destiny.

The destiny of an average Chinese rests with the central command. He contributes more than what he gets, be it in urban or rural China. For past 25 years, he cannot have more than one child. Whether he works as a white or blue-collar worker, he has to maintain discipline. He has multiple responsibilities for civic behaviour. He cannot be unproductive in work or indulge in any economic crime. Punitive deterrents are too severe. He may lose his work permit and revert to his village along with his family, ending his urban dream forever. At home, he has to look after his family comprising his wife and his one child, parents of both spouses. There could be grandparents too. All these, with little or no social security. Clearly, the Chinese system holds the destiny for each Chinese.

==> This article is more in-line with Nobel prize winner Economist Amartya Sen’s thoughts like

**Development should be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people experience
**Development is just not economical but political one too
Based on Sen’s thesis, Human Development index has been designed covering (i) political freedom, (ii) economic facilities, (iii) social opportunities, (iv) transparency guarantees and (v) protective security. Each of these distinct types of rights and opportunities are essential and closely interrelated in advancing the capability of a person. To appreciate the inter-connections between these freedoms, an empirical linkage that tie the distinct types of freedom are central to our understanding of the instrumental role of freedom. The approach of considering each of these freedoms to development is termed ‘capability approach’.

==> I liked some aspect of Chinese system whereby they put the overall country and its destiny ahead of the individual when there is a big question mark about country’s destiny. That doesn’t mean that individual has no value, it all depends upon how well the country has defined the parameter to fulfill individual’s basic need arising from such decisions. Taking India as an example, to implement any infrastructure projects like roads, dam, etc etc which has huge and positive impact on millions people for generations to come, has been always difficult. May be the political & bureaucratic system is not functioning well which makes people suffer from decisions and in return NGO’s block such projects. This is where India lacks a democratic but fast-functioning system to define country’s destiny rather than blocking both individual and also country’s destiny. In one way, India’s slow system is soft-peddling individual’s own destiny. To me such soft-peddling is why we see millions Indians still below poverty line, having lived in villages then urban and then Ultra urban India, I can say that in India, individual’s destiny has been man-made. India has lot to learn & implement from its proud son such as Amartya Sen.