TOPIC OF THE DAY:-“The Chinese clue”

If there is to be a meta narrative for China’s economic development, it is that its leadership combined the drive for growth with the spreading of human capital. Human capital may be understood as a person’s endowment derived from education and robust health. When a population is more or less equally endowed, as it was in China when it began to draw ahead, the human capital profile of a country may be represented by a rectangle. Now the returns to labour would be relatively equal compared to the country in which the distribution of human capital is pyramidical, which is the case for India. To see the latter better, note that the share of the Indian population with secondary schooling is less than 15%. China had by the early 1970s achieved the level of schooling India did only by the early 21st century. The spread of health and education in that country enabled the Chinese economy to grow faster than India by exporting manufactures to the rest of the world. These goods may not have been the byword for quality but they were globally competitive, which made their domestic production viable. The resulting growth lifted vast multitudes out of poverty. As the human capital endowment was relatively equal, most people could share in this growth, which accounts for the relative equality of outcomes in China when compared to India. An ingredient of this is also the greater participation of women in the workforce of China, an outcome that eludes India. While concluding this brief account of China’s progress, two points may be made. China is no exception to the general history of progress made in East Asia, right down to the authoritarianism, only that China has remained even more authoritarian. This makes it appropriate to term progress in the country as growth through human capital-accumulation for there can be no human development without democracy, whatever may be the health and educational attainments of a population. Recent revelations suggest that the massacre of pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989 was far greater than believed to be. This brings us back to India. India has lower per capita income, persistent poverty and by all accounts rising inequality. It may be said in the context that economic progress here has been neither efficient nor equitable. Democracy per se cannot be held responsible for this. There are States in India with superior social indicators than China. This shows that not only is democracy not a barrier to development but also that similar political institutions across India have not resulted in same development outcomes across its regions. Nor can we remain complacent that democracy is combined with superior social indicators in some parts of India when income levels are lower here than what China has demonstrated is achievable.


1) Perspective

Meaning: A particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Example: “Most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”

Synonyms: Outlook, View

2) Flattering

Meaning: Full of Praise and compliments.

Example: “The article began with some flattering words about us”

Synonyms: Complimentary, Praising

Antonyms: Unflattering, Insulting

3) Emphasise

Meaning: Give special importance or value to (something) in speaking or writing.

Example: “they emphasize the need for daily, one-to-one contact between parent and child”

Synonyms: High light, Deepen

Antonyms: Understate, Play down

4) Grist

Meaning: Useful material, especially to support an argument.

Example: “The research provided the most sensational grist for opponents of tobacco”

5) Forbidding

Meaning: Unfriendly or threatening in appearance.

Example: “A grim and forbidding building”

Synonyms: Hostile, Unwelcoming

Antonyms: friendly, inviting

6) Comprehend

Meaning: Grasp mentally; understand.

Example: “He couldn’t comprehend her reasons for marrying Lovat”

Synonyms: Understand, Grasp

7) Agrarian

Meaning: Relating to landed property.

Example: “The agrarian reforms”

8) Started out

Meaning: To begin your life, or the part of your life when you work, in a particular way.

Example: My dad started out as a salesperson in a shop.

9) Divergent

Meaning: Ending to be different or develop in different directions.

Example: “Divergent interpretations”

Synonyms: Differing, varying

Antonyms: Similar

10) Endowment

Meaning: A quality or ability possessed or inherited by someone.

Example: “His natural endowments were his height and intelligence”

Synonyms: Quality, Characteristic

11) Robust

Meaning: Strong and healthy; vigorous.

Example: “The Caplan family are a robust lot”

Synonyms: Strong, Vigorous

Antonyms: Weak, Frail

12) Latter

Meaning: Denoting the second or second mentioned of two people or things.

Example: “The Russians could advance into either Germany or Austria—they chose the latter option”

Synonyms: Last-mentioned, Second-mentioned

Antonyms: Former, Prior

13) Multitudes

Meaning: The mass of ordinary people without power or influence.

Example:  “Placing ultimate political power in the hands of the multitude”

Synonyms: Crowd, Gathering

Antonyms: The elite

14) Eludes

Meaning: Escape from or avoid (a danger, enemy, or pursuer), typically in a skilful or cunning way.

Example:”He tried to elude the security men by sneaking through a back door”

Synonyms: Evade, Avoid

15) Persistent

Meaning: Continuing firmly or obstinately in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Example: “One of the government’s most persistent critics”

Synonyms: Tenacious, Persevering

Antonyms: Irresolute