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On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 3

February 16, 2019 9 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how post-1949 Chinese leadership put in a lot of effort to improve the conditions of its people, even if their motivations were not purely altrusitic. Then again, the same is true of every government which has every existed in human history and the present. In sharp contrast, the Indian leadershit has remained mired in their self-chosen role as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and lording over an allegedly hopeless bunch of subhumans. One commentator in the previous post of this series made a comment to the effect that it sounded like how things work in south and central american countries- where an incompetent whiter elite (with the assistance of dying white countries) mismanage and lord over less whiter people, who they see as less than human. Yep.. that is about right.

In the previous post, I also wrote about how the Chinese leadership took a pragmatic approach to improving literacy through a variety of reforms and programs. They also built, and in some cases rebuilt, institutions and bureaucracies to function for them and their people. Sure.. they had to break a few hundred thousand eggs to achieve that- but you cannot deny that the results are quite impressive and functional. More importantly, these institutions now either do what they are meant to do, or do not interfere in what other institutions are doing. In other words, the Chinese leadership was able to build and maintain a unitary and coordinated governmental system with a pretty decent level of accountability. And all this within first three decades after 1949. So why were they able to achieve something which their Indian counterparts thought to be impossible.

Conventional explanations for this, usually put forth by allegedly “credentialed” white idiots, try to paint this as some sort of exception or aberration. However that is not the case, as some version of this had been previously implemented in Japan and the Koreas. For example, modernization of Japan starting in Meiji era and its rebuilding after WW2 was achieved by implementing a watered-down version of what China started doing after 1949. The same is true of South Korea after the early 1960s. You might have noticed that all these examples have something else common to them- other than being east-asian. Ready.. they were, or are, mostly single-party systems.. yes, even Japan. But didn’t India also have effectively have a single party system for first 2-3 decades after 1947? Yes, they did and the Congress party won most elections as the state and federal level for 2-3 decades after “independence”. So why did it work in east-Asia but not in India?

Which brings us to the part about accountability- for elected officials as well as bureaucrats. As I mentioned in previous parts of this series, almost every single Indian politician and elected official came from families who collaborated with the British colonizers of India. They had risen to their positions without facing any real challenge, struggle or conflict. Most had no real skills beyond regurgitating what they learned in British universities and they saw themselves as darker whites rather than Indians. As I said in previous part, they believed anything some white guy in an expensive suit would tell them. The Indian bureaucracy was no better and filled with sad excuses for human beings who enjoyed abusing and screwing over their own people by using rules and regulations written up for that purpose by their erstwhile colonial masters.

Long story short, both the political class and bureaucracy of India was made up of incompetent losers who saw themselves as lesser whites rather than Indians. And there is one more thing.. the bureaucracy and political system continued to exist as two independent and antagonistic centers of power. Contrast that to successful east-asian countries where the political leadership and bureaucracy are different faces of the same system. There is a good reason why I used the words such as unitary and coordinated to describe the Chinese system. But why does any of this matter? Also, does it matter that much? Well.. let me show you with a couple of examples.

Very few of you know that India was first Asian country to build its own supersonic combat aircraft. Ya.. India built the HF-24 Marut and successfully tested it in the early 1960s. While the team leader of the project was Kurt Tank, almost everybody else in the project was Indian and they went from nothing to flying prototypes in about 6 years. So what did the Indian political leadershit and bureaucracy do in response to this success? The sabotaged it in every way they could- from denying funding for better imported engines to crippling the organisation setup for developing indigenous engines. Even worse, they spent a lot of effort trying to make sure that all the knowledge and expertise gained through that project was lost. But why?

The “conventional” explanation for this behavior is that USSR offered them decent inexpensive combat aircraft. However that is not true since the USSR which made such aircraft in multiple thousands was not really bothered by this indigenous effort. Moreover, it filled a role distinct from the aircraft they supplied to India at that time. The real reasons have far more to do with the Indian psyche, especially those of its white-worshiping idiot politicians and bureaucrats. The thing is.. they could not believe that people of their skin color could make world-class products. To make matters worse, they had no ability to understand concepts such as iterative development and using the insight gained in one project to advance others. But most fatally, they believed in what white scammers told them about the nature of money.

Now contrast this to what China did during the same time period. After getting all the equipment from USSR to manufacture Mig-15s, 17, 19s etc they first kept cranking out replicas. While not the best combat aircraft of that era (mid 1960s), they were good enough. But far more importantly, they used that opportunity to train a shitload of engineers who would then go on to improve these aircraft and eventually build far better ones. They did this at a time when they were as poor as India and in politically worse shape. They also did the same with soviet diesel-electric submarines, infantry weapons, artillery etc. Did you notice that they never stopped these projects or disbanded their experienced teams regardless of domestic upheavals and other issues. Why not? And where did they get the money to do all these things?

The answer to first part of those questions is that they, unlike their Indian counterparts, were not incompetent white-worshipping idiots. The second and related answer is that they saw money in a very different way to their Indian and white counterparts. To make another long story short, they implemented a form of what we today call modern monetary theory, which is fancy way of saying that they printed money and allocated resources as necessary to get important things done while making sure that this new money did not enter the general circulation at levels large enough to cause runaway inflation and currency devaluation. So ya.. they pretty much printed money and rigged their system to deliver what they wanted, which they could do because of the size of their country. Their Indian equivalents chose to believe “credentialed” white eCONomists.

In the next part of this series, I will show you (with more examples) how a unitary and coordinated government policy gave China a huge advantage over India in other sectors.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 2

January 30, 2019 5 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote that India and China started from about the same level, and with a host of systemic problems, as nascent modern nation states in 1947 and 1949. While India might have initially seemed to be the more successful of the two, China slowly but surely outpaced it in almost every aspect from about the mid-1960s. The gap has now grown to such levels that the real difference between these two equipopulous Asian nations now appears unbridgeable. In the previous part, I also said that majority of difference in outcome between the two can be attributed to difference in quality of leadership and administration between them. For starters- Indian leaders, while superficially more erudite than their Chinese counterparts, came from families who had previously gotten rich by collaborating with British colonizers.

The majority of those who came to power in India had also never been tested under real life-and-death situations. In addition to displaying uncritical belief in whatever any white person wearing a suit told them, they had no real interest in improving the condition of their fellow country men and women. Indeed, most of them did not see themselves as part of India.. well at least not ‘that other’ India. They saw themselves as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and ruling over a hopeless bunch of subhumans. Some of you might wonder as to how I reached this rather dim view about that allegedly “great” generation of leaders which India had in aftermath of gaining independence in 1947, from the now defunct British empire. Easy.. look at their behavior and actions, rather than their words- because the later is cheap unlike the former two.

1] Both India and China started life as modern nation states with very high levels (over 80-85%) of illiteracy. So how did Indian leaders go about trying to fix this problem? How about.. by doing almost nothing. That is right! While Chinese leaders put a lot of effort and force into projects such as simplifying the Chinese script, ordering translations of everything they could find into Chinese, improving primary school attendance and childhood literacy among its population by any means (including force)- their Indian counterparts gave speeches and raised slogans about removing illiteracy. While it is true that Indian leaders did fund a few elite universities and educational institutions (IITs, IIMs etc) earlier than China, they largely ignored the primary and secondary educational sector. But why? Well.. think about which educational institutions their progeny, and those of their flunkies, would attend. It is that easy.

So why didn’t the Chinese leadership behave in such an utterly selfish manner? The answer is.. because they were pragmatic. While creating elite educational institutions for your own children sounds like a good idea, doing so without creating an equally extensive non-elite educational system would almost certainly lead to them remaining a poor country. Chinese leaders were always interested in true global power and prestige. It is not possible to be powerful and feared (or respected) on the international level if your country is an un-industrialized and materially poor country full of illiterate people. Indian leaders, on the other hand, were incapable of visualizing themselves as anything other than second-rate ‘whites’ in charge of a country predestined to be poor because some white guy in an expensive suit told them so.

2] It is no secret that the administrative system and bureaucracy in India, along with its laws and regulations, had been designed to exploit and abuse Indians for the benefit of the now extinct British empire. Any person with half-a-brain who was genuinely interested in improving conditions in India after independence would have liquidated everyone in the administrative system, except its junior-most employees, and built a new one- if necessary by copying from countries where things worked. That is, however, not the path taken by Indians leaders after ‘independence’. Instead they retained almost every single part of the incredibly abusive and dysfunctional system including its pathetic white-worshiping personnel. And this is how India ended up with a shitty and incompetent bureaucracy which benefits nobody other than its employees.

Their Chinese counterparts, on the other hand, went on quite the cleaning spree after 1949. They started by getting rid of bureaucrats who were, should we say, not sympathetic to the new order or problematic collaborators to previous regimes. They reformed laws, rules and regulations to make them more useful and internally self-consistent. Moreover, they were willing to reform their system as the situation changed- for example after 1971 and 1979. Some people say that it was helpful that China has a long history of competent bureaucracy, unlike India. However, after the ‘century of humiliation’ they had to start from scratch to build a modern secular bureaucracy and so their history is not especially relevant to what happened after 1949. Let me reiterate that the Chinese leadership did not educate their people and build a good bureaucracy because they were altruistic. They did so because they wanted to be leaders of a powerful and respected nation.

In the next part of this series, I will write about how the lack of imagination and ability displayed by Indian leadership over every single decade since ‘independence’ contrasts with the willingness of their Chinese counterparts to take calculated risks, persevere along initially suboptimal routes, keep thinking big and have a viable plan (or two) to get there.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 1

January 20, 2019 13 comments

Approximately three months ago, I wrote about my plans for a couple of series on topics which I had either not tackled or done in a less-than-through manner. In case you are wondering, one series would focus on the reasons why China became the world’s largest economy (in real terms) almost a decade ago while India is.. well.. stumbling around in that general direction. While most of the blame for dismal post-1947 performance of India can still be assigned to the first-, second- and third- order effects of the ‘jati’ system, there are clearly other factors at work- some of which are ‘intersectional’ to the continued existence of that wretched system. Let us start this series by examining them- starting with a comparison leadership cadre of both countries.

But before we go there, let me reiterate a few relevant points and spend the next 3-4 paragraphs giving you some background on the topic. As I wrote in a previous post, the majority of informed outsiders looking at the situation in both countries in 1950 would have put their money on India ending up as the more prosperous of two in 50-70 years. Yet in 2019, the Indian economy is still only 1/4th or 1/5th of its Chinese counterpart in real terms, despite containing an almost identical number of people. Did I mention that they started out at almost the same level in 1950. Let us also be clear that things had not gone well for over a century in either country at that time. In the case of India, it was a heavily exploited colony of now defunct British empire.

In the case of China, it was well.. a whole host of other problems. We can start with the various large and highly damaging rebellions towards the end of the Qing dynasty. One of these, known as the Taiping Rebellion, resulted in about 20-30 million deaths over a period of 14 years. Then there was the problem of western countries such as UK and USA pushing Opium in China which resulted in probably 20-40% of the population becoming dependent on that drug. There is some irony about tens of thousands of mostly white people dying from synthetic opioid overdoses, each year, in contemporary USA- given the major source of that drug. Add into that the humiliation caused by numerous military setbacks against 19th century European colonial powers culminating in the Boxer rebellion. And it got even worse in the early 20th century.

It started with the formal collapse of the Qing dynasty and lead to the Warlord Era– which was much worse than it sounds. And then there was that other unpleasant period due to the partial colonization by Imperial Japan, which culminated in events such as the Nanjing Massacre in addition to many millions more deaths due to that invasion, including many thousands due to activities of Unit 731. And we are not even getting into all the problems caused by on-again off-again alliance between various factions of the nationalists and communists in pre-1950 China. There is a very good reason that the Chinese see the hundred odd years between 1839-1949 as the Century of Humiliation. Long story short, China started from scratch after WW2. And we have not even talked about the Great Famine of 1959-1961 and the Cultural Revolution.

My point is that the modern nation states of India and China started at almost the same time (1947, 1949) and from about the same relative situation. Both had low literacy rates (12-15 % and 15-20 %), not much of an industrial base, very few universities and technical schools etc. Both experienced chaotic conditions during and shortly after their formation (India-Pakistan Partition, final stage of civil war on mainland China). Neither country had experienced unitary self-governance for over a hundred years. Most of the lay people in both countries still believed in tons of superstitions and bullshit. Long story short, both nation states started under equally dismal conditions. And yet in 2019, the economy and global stature of India is a fraction of China.

So let us now start talking about the types of people who ended up in leadership positions in both countries, starting with those involved in their respective independence movements.

The Indian “independence” movement, at least its modern form, can trace its origins to the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. Ironically, it was established by a retired British civil service officer- Allan Octavian Hume. Think about it for a moment, the organisation which came to lead the Indian “independence” movement was not started by an Indian. But it gets better, or worse. Here is something many of you might know about many of the subsequent important leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. most were the sons of people who had grown rich and powerful from enthusiastic collaboration with the British colonizers of India. Ya.. all those “great” leaders of the Indian “independence” moment were almost exclusively the sons of greedy and treacherous collaborators.

And most did not demand total independence until the early 1940s.. just varying degrees of autonomy from the now defunct British empire. And now you know why I decided to use quotation marks for independence. Sad.. isn’t it? And it gets worse.. if that is even possible. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, most leaders of the Indian “independence” movement were oxbridge educated lawyers with close to zero ability or experience to do anything beyond giving stirring speeches and writing elaborate letters in protest. They had a serious inferiority complex vis-à-vis white people in general and the British in particular. But most importantly, they simply wanted to rule instead of the British and had no real desire to improve the condition of most people in the country, and just wanted to be seen as equal to British on an individual level.

Now let us compare this sorry bunch to their equivalents in the Chinese national movement of early 20th century. Note that I am not implying that their Chinese equivalents were any less power-hungry, double-dealing, generally corrupt and sometimes thoughtless. But there are some very important and relevant differences between the two groups. For starters, most of their leadership did not arise from a group of traitors who collaborated with colonizers. Neither were most of their leaders born in very prosperous families. Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek came from somewhat comfortable but not unusually rich or politically connected families. Even the second and third order leadership of the national movement was largely derived from people born into poor, middling to somewhat prosperous bourgeois families.

Furthermore, they all agreed that expulsion of foreign colonizers, restoration of unitary authority and building a new secular technological society was not negotiable. Compare this to their Indian counterparts who were fine with continuing caste divisions, widespread poverty, little to no economic development, low literacy, semi-independence etc as long as they were in power. Leaders of the Indian “independence” movement.. you see.. just wanted an equal seat at the table of their British masters so they could regale them with tales with how stupid and poor all those “other” Indian were and have a laugh about it. While it sounds harsh, this is how things went after 1947. The leadership of the Chinese national movement, on the other hand, understood that only leaders of powerful and prosperous nations wield true power.

This is why, for example, the government of post-1949 China put so much effort into improving literacy levels, setting up universities, funding research institutes, building their own weapon systems, investing in infrastructure projects etc- even when they technically did not have the “money” to do so. In contrast, multiple generations of Indian leaders used the excuse of “no money” to either not do those things or do them in an anemic and half-hearted manner. That is also why India retained the shitty colonial system of laws and administration which was designed to exploit and abuse Indians rather than build a new one to benefit them. The darkly comic part of all this is that most of them lack the ability to understand their own pathetic behavior.

Will write more about this issue in the next part of series.

What do you think? Comments?