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In his latest interview on his new book "Civilization: The West and the Rest", historian Niall Ferguson says|
China in many ways is the hare and India is the tortoise in that old nursery tale.
Following is part of the transcript in the interview.
Niall Ferguson: I would argue china in many ways is the hare and India is the tortoise in that old nursery tale ... for the next 10-20 years china is going to look like the hare, running faster, well ahead of India in the economic race, but the tortoise may yet win the race over a longer time horizon ...if you look ahead the next 30 years. two major problem china will have to grapple w in the next generation, number one demographic imbalances form the one child policy. Number two a transition to a more democratic political system. I'm in no doubt that the rise of the Chinese middle class, the growth of a free market economy implies a change in China's political system towards some kind of representative govt. Hard to have that kind of transition smoothly. India has got none of those problems -it's already a democracy, not a perfect democracy but is netter than none in that sense I’m relatively optimistic about India’s future.
In my new book civilisation i argue that there are six killer applications, six magical institutions that put the west ahead of the rest after 1500. And of these six, China does not have the full complement - India does. India’s got economic competition, it's got science to a pretty high level, and it’s got the rule of law and representative govt which is also crucial, as well as modern medicine, consumer society and the work ethic. These were things that 100 years ago you couldn't really say about it. China has downloaded many of these, but not democracy not the rule of law. Those things are hugely imp for societies to be innovative or for the long run. Freedom - of speech, of press, of association - very important if you compare India and china - I travel to both a lot- the most striking thing is the lack of freedom in China compared to the freedom in India.
Still, the key words here are democracy and freedom. Will they decide the course of these two nations? We'll see.