ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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China and India: Growing Challenges

China-India: Pathways of Economic and Social Development edited by Delia Davin and Barbara Harriss-White, Proceedings of the British Academy, 193, published for The British Academy by Oxford University Press, London, 2014; pp xvii + 218, £ 50.

There has been a great deal of interest in the comparative performance of China and India since the late 1940s, when India gained its independence from Great Britain and the Chinese Communist Party established the People’s Republic of China. This is not only because these are by far the two most populous nations of the world, but also because their political structures have been starkly different: China an authoritarian state, India a parliamentary democracy.

In the 1950s and 1960s there were also major differences between the economic development paths being pursued by the two nations. China was building a full-fledged socialist economy, initially along Soviet lines and then increasingly along more decentralised Maoist lines. Although India was ostensibly pursuing the goal of a “socialistic pattern of society,” to be achieved via central government planning, the bulk of the economy was based on independent private enterprise. By the 1970s the comparative economic achievements of China and India were being closely scrutinised for evidence of the comparative ability of an autocratic regime and a democratic regime to promote economic development.

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