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Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India

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Overview

The recent economic rise of China and India has attracted a great deal of attention—and justifiably so. Together, the two countries account for one-fifth of the global economy and are projected to represent a full third of the world's income by 2025. Yet, many of the views regarding China and India's market reforms and high growth have been tendentious, exaggerated, or oversimplified. Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay scrutinizes the phenomenal rise of both nations, and demolishes the myths that have accumulated around the economic achievements of these two giants in the last quarter century. Exploring the challenges that both countries must overcome to become true leaders in the international economy, Pranab Bardhan looks beyond short-run macroeconomic issues to examine and compare China and India's major policy changes, political and economic structures, and current general performance.

Bardhan investigates the two countries' economic reforms, each nation's pattern and composition of growth, and the problems afflicting their agricultural, industrial, infrastructural, and financial sectors. He considers how these factors affect China and India's poverty, inequality, and environment, how political factors shape each country's pattern of burgeoning capitalism, and how significant poverty reduction in both countries is mainly due to domestic factors—not global integration, as most would believe. He shows how authoritarianism has distorted Chinese development while democratic governance in India has been marred by severe accountability failures.

Full of valuable insights, Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay provides a nuanced picture of China and India's complex political economy at a time of startling global reconfiguration and change.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Pranab Bardhan's Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India . . . succinctly summarizes the challenges facing China and India, including environmental degradation, unfavorable demographics, poor infrastructure, and social inequality—threats that the leaders of China and India understand. . . . A more contentious claim offered by Bardhan is that internal reform—not the global market—has been the key driver of both countries' growth.
— Simon Tay
BusinessWorld
The strongest point in Bardhan's study is his insightful account of the role of democracy in promoting as well as hindering economic growth.
— Nayan Chanda
Choice
There is abundant literature on the comparative development of India and China, but most of it explains the difference in their growth rates on the macro level on ideological grounds: slower growth rate in democratic India versus faster development in authoritarian China. In this well-written and properly documented study, Bardhan examines growth in different sectors of the economies, particularly agriculture, industry, trade, infrastructure, savings, and investment rates. . . . This volume is an important reference for advanced students and researchers interested in the economic growth of these two Asian giants.
China Journal
Bardhan's refusal to shy away from complexity I refreshing, and it is this which distinguishes his book from many others in the field. . . . Although this is a book primarily focused on economics, it is not written solely for economists. It is a concise, accessible volume which can provide a valuable resource for anyone wanting to understand better the myriad complexities surrounding the rise of China and India.
— Louise Merrington
Developing Economies
The author of this small volume is to be commended for packing so much useful information and analysis into such a short space.
— Dwight H. Perkins
Forbes.com - Jeff Wasserstrom
[E]xcellent. . . . Bardhan writes with remarkable clarity about complex issues, such as the widely varying ways that corruption can affect the economy, and the positive as well as negative legacy of the Maoist era for China in terms of its recent trajectory. . . . He also shows some welcome stylistic flair, quoting poetry to good effect in one section (how often do economists do that?).
Foreign Affairs - Simon Tay
Pranab Bardhan's Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India . . . succinctly summarizes the challenges facing China and India, including environmental degradation, unfavorable demographics, poor infrastructure, and social inequality—threats that the leaders of China and India understand. . . . A more contentious claim offered by Bardhan is that internal reform—not the global market—has been the key driver of both countries' growth.
BusinessWorld - Nayan Chanda
The strongest point in Bardhan's study is his insightful account of the role of democracy in promoting as well as hindering economic growth.
Mint - Siddharth Singh
Bardhan's book is a good place to understand the political economy of constraints the two economies are likely to face as they march ahead.
China Journal - Louise Merrington
Bardhan's refusal to shy away from complexity I refreshing, and it is this which distinguishes his book from many others in the field. . . . Although this is a book primarily focused on economics, it is not written solely for economists. It is a concise, accessible volume which can provide a valuable resource for anyone wanting to understand better the myriad complexities surrounding the rise of China and India.
Developing Economies - Dwight H. Perkins
The author of this small volume is to be commended for packing so much useful information and analysis into such a short space.
From the Publisher
"[E]xcellent. . . . Bardhan writes with remarkable clarity about complex issues, such as the widely varying ways that corruption can affect the economy, and the positive as well as negative legacy of the Maoist era for China in terms of its recent trajectory. . . . He also shows some welcome stylistic flair, quoting poetry to good effect in one section (how often do economists do that?)."—Jeff Wasserstrom, Forbes.com

"Pranab Bardhan's Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India . . . succinctly summarizes the challenges facing China and India, including environmental degradation, unfavorable demographics, poor infrastructure, and social inequality—threats that the leaders of China and India understand. . . . A more contentious claim offered by Bardhan is that internal reform—not the global market—has been the key driver of both countries' growth."—Simon Tay, Foreign Affairs

"The strongest point in Bardhan's study is his insightful account of the role of democracy in promoting as well as hindering economic growth."—Nayan Chanda, BusinessWorld

"There is abundant literature on the comparative development of India and China, but most of it explains the difference in their growth rates on the macro level on ideological grounds: slower growth rate in democratic India versus faster development in authoritarian China. In this well-written and properly documented study, Bardhan examines growth in different sectors of the economies, particularly agriculture, industry, trade, infrastructure, savings, and investment rates. . . . This volume is an important reference for advanced students and researchers interested in the economic growth of these two Asian giants."Choice

"Bardhan's book is a good place to understand the political economy of constraints the two economies are likely to face as they march ahead."—Siddharth Singh, Mint

"Bardhan's refusal to shy away from complexity I refreshing, and it is this which distinguishes his book from many others in the field. . . . Although this is a book primarily focused on economics, it is not written solely for economists. It is a concise, accessible volume which can provide a valuable resource for anyone wanting to understand better the myriad complexities surrounding the rise of China and India."—Louise Merrington, China Journal

"The author of this small volume is to be commended for packing so much useful information and analysis into such a short space."—Dwight H. Perkins, Developing Economies

Forbes.com
[E]xcellent. . . . Bardhan writes with remarkable clarity about complex issues, such as the widely varying ways that corruption can affect the economy, and the positive as well as negative legacy of the Maoist era for China in terms of its recent trajectory. . . . He also shows some welcome stylistic flair, quoting poetry to good effect in one section (how often do economists do that?).
— Jeff Wasserstrom
Mint
Bardhan's book is a good place to understand the political economy of constraints the two economies are likely to face as they march ahead.
— Siddharth Singh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691129945
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/7/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pranab Bardhan is professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include "Scarcity, Conflicts, and Cooperation".

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction: The Myths Floating around the Giants 1

Ch. 2 Economic Reform and Growth: Differing Patterns and Institutions 19

Ch. 3 Agriculture: Still the Most Crowded Sector 42

Ch. 4 Infrastructure: The Dazzling Difference 54

Ch. 5 High Saving, Low Financial Intermediation 65

Ch. 6 The Pattern of Burgeoning Capitalism 78

Ch. 7 Poverty and Inequality: How Is the Growth Shared? 90

Ch. 8 The Social Sector: The Relevance of the Socialist Legacy 104

Ch. 9 Environment: The Alarming Signs 117

Ch. 10 Looking to the Future: Through the Lens of Political Economy 125

References 161

Index 169

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