The Dragon vs the Tiger
I am often asked, the Dragon Vs Tiger comparisons between China and India. India is always equated with a submissive tiger (or worse, as an elephant !!!). It is true that China heads a great manufacturing empire. Foreign companies pour billions of dollars in China. Everyone from car companies to turbine manufacturers wants a heads-up in China by establishing their own manufacturing concerns there. Foreign investment, both direct and indirect, coupled with availability of plenty of natural resources and cheap labor has propelled the 'Made in China' tag to each and every part of our lives. It is extremely tough to obtain any item anywhere nowadays which does not have the 'Made in China' tag.
The main question to be asked it "What if 21st century dollars are being put into a 20th century power?" Politically, China is controlled with an iron fist by communists who want to maintain the status quo at all costs. Militarily, China relies on its large army to browbeat its neighbors into submission. Economically, it has put the Ford assembly line concept at each and every point in the country. Financially, it hordes its cash and regulates its markets with zeal and uses purposeful devaulation of currency to prevent mass upheaval. The western world wants China to reevaluate its currency, the yuan, to bring in it more in line with what the market demands. Washington wants Beijing to devalue its currency as a way of cutting the staggering trade imbalances spinning out
of lost cost manufacturing. How does this account for the Dragon Vs the Tiger fight ? In a pure economic scenario, China serves as a platform to bring together capital (from foreign sources), cheap labor (mostly prison and forced peasant labor) and industrial technology (often stolen from foreign companies through industrial espionage). China relies on this empire and controls it with an iron
India, on the other hand, aspires to become a global technology hub, with a central place in the transnational movement of knowledge and services. India's advantage lies in its political stability (as the world's largest democracy for 58 years now), large and relatively young educated population (around 70% of the country is literate, with many of them fluent in English) and an economic regime which tries to balance 'for the people, by the people' with economic realities. China, on the other hand, faces political upheaval and social unrest. A society which believes in restricting political freedom while at the same time providing economic benefits to its population cannot survive for long.
Around 100 million Chinese surf the Internet and very soon they will know what is denied to them is FREEDOM. The Internet (and especially the blog-boom) is hastening China on the same path of South Korea and Taiwan. In both places, a booming economy nurtured a middle class, rising education, incremental international contact, a squeamishness about curbing dissidence and finally a people revolution against the old guard. In China's case, would this change be one which brings in catastrophic changes in how the Asian century shapes up ?