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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Comments

Gabriel Mihalache

It puzzles me when people who would not otherwise call themselves socialists or communists complain about "economic inequality"... why don't they ever complain about productivity inequality or education inequality or inheritance inequality or business-savvy-ness inequality?

China's issues are not economical but rather political. Liberalisation is not an issue of economics but of politics. Liberty is bases on unalienable individual rights not on "political accountability"... For a certain (large) set of areas of my life I'd rather have no rulers than be forced to obey accountable rulers. (Accountable to what, Rousseau's General Will? They certainly won't be accountble to me, personally.)

Steve

"why don't they ever complain about productivity inequality or education inequality or inheritance inequality."

Many do quite frequently. These are upshots of economic inequality. Also, political accountability is important to the functioning of any society.


Chris

Compare and contrast with India.

Indian Lessons (subscription required).
By JAGDISH BHAGWATI
The Wall Street Journal February 28, 2006; Page A16

"After all these years of Realism in U.S. foreign policy, the Bush administration is appropriately interested in the spread of democracy worldwide. Yet as the U.S. goes about its business of pressure-cooked democratization in Iraq, we need to appreciate that Indian democracy succeeded because her political institutions were a legacy that evolved over decades under British rule. During those years, the rule of law, elections, the judiciary, even NGOs, developed through the land. Iraq's difficulties illustrate, by contrast, how hard it is to transplant functioning democratic institutions."
...
"By contrast, China's greater economic success has led to increased social protests in the rural areas; we hear constantly of "land grabs" leading to disruptive demonstrations. A concerned Chinese government has translated these protests into the erroneous view that they are primarily the result of rural-urban inequality. But, this explanation is a witless repetition of the mistaken focus on inequality as the prime mover in political reaction. In China's case, it is evident that if a commissar's cronies grab your land, a phenomenon that may reflect also the fact that increased prosperity makes land more valuable to grab, there is no redress because there are hardly any NGOs, no opposition parties, no free press and no independent judiciary. So you turn to the streets. The Chinese rulers cannot face up to the fact that their antidemocratic structures are at the heart of the problem of increasing rural unrest; they cling to the self-serving view that economic inequality is the cause."

Chang

Americans grabbed land from the Indians, Brits grabbed land from the peasants.. and now the People's Repulic are grabbing land from poor peasants and making them workers in the sweatshops, making them more productive..

This is very politically incorrect, but I call this "Growing Pains"

Santosh Shah

If India does not become more authoritarian (at least in terms of economic policy) in the next decade, it will become even more backwards than China.

Look at South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and even Meiji Japan.... they were all authoritarian governments during their developing periods. For South Korea and Taiwan, they became democratic only after becoming developed.

China is on the right path. India unfortunately is still dreaming in arrogance.

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