Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Yang Guangbin Page No. : 14
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Neighborhood news

A competitive comparison between India and China is an all time favorite subject in  international political circles. After a complete revision of methodology of calculation in 2014, India’s economic growth rate for the first time surpassed that of China, and there was buzz all over that ‘India had overtaken China’. Being a developing nation with a Western-style ‘model of democracy’, India’s ‘good news’ is always exaggerated and similarly China’s ‘bad news’ is also always blown out of proportion by the West. It is not at all right to view India and China on the basis of public opinion prevailing in the current international environment.

Here is a basic scale of comparison for a well ordered society. The end goal of any State or government usually is pursuit of common good. The definition of “good” today is greatly influenced by a world governed by ideologies. But for ordinary people, the most important thing is to live in order, in a well governed and well ordered society. A well ordered society is after all the result of rapport between the State and society, in which the State provides basic public services and society, with its dynamic and innovative forces, strives for and finally achieves a certain degree of social justice.

As for governance in the two countries, let us see who has fared better at fighting poverty. According to UN, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line at present in China is 11%, whereas in India it is 33%, which means over 400 million people still live below the poverty line. Why is it so? According to the scholars engaged in research on India, India is like a three-section cudgel. With central, state and local level political powers never in harmony, India is a typical example of a “fractured society”. In fact, just when Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the country’s general elections and came to power, in the state elections held in Delhi, it was the populist Aam Admi party (AAP) which secured the absolute majority. With such fragmentation of power, how can India compete in governance with China which has the advantage of centralized democracy?

But the expert observers, having a soft spot for the Indian “good system”, often say India has a more dynamic private sector than the Chinese and because of its developed civil society also has a more developed social democracy, meaning thereby China is inferior to India. If it were so, what are we to make of American expert Lardy’s research conclusions that Chinese private sector’s rate of contribution to employment and economic growth and reliance on bank loans is 70% more than any other country? Why are Indian IT companies unable to compete with the world class companies like Tencent, Alibaba and Huawei?  These people forget a common knowledge that above industry there is the State and below it society — how dynamic and competitive can any industry be in the face of a State devoid of power and a fragmented social structure?

India is a living historical museum where thousand years old property deeds, caste system and untouchability are still in practice. According to statistics, there are at least more than 2000 caste and clan based political parties. Amid such a social structure, party politics and civil society have really flourished and one can witness protest marches every week in the cities and towns. Electoral politics is very developed and voter turnout is unusually high, the reason being the share of spoils the political parties get.  Once a party gets control of a town or village, it capitalizes fully on the advantage of being in power for the next few years.

Since the nature of State-society relations is completely different in India and China, there is bound to be a big difference in the level of social justice. During a lecture at the World Bank, British economist of Indian origin Amartya Sen repeatedly said that China is a role model for India. Fukuyama told a story about how the United Nations invested heavily in a universal education program in a region of India but, even after 5 years, the situation remains the same — children are still unable to go to school. This kind of social injustice is a product of State governance capacity and governance ideology.

The difference between India and China in terms of a well ordered society is very clear. Having said that, it does not follow that the two countries have nothing to learn from each other. In State governance Chinese government has to learn to reduce, to cut down its role in the allocation of resources, to allow the market to play a more decisive role. On the other hand, India has to learn to do more, it has to increase its governance capacity and also realize its dream of better social justice. Only the social structure of the two countries will determine whether it is better to cut down (on State role in governance) or step it up unmindful of difficulties. For sure, the differences between the two countries cannot be eliminated in a short span of time.

▲(The author is a professor of political science at the Renmin University of China, Executive Director, National Governance Research Institute (Translator’s Note: Director of the Institute of Comparative Political Systems )

 

良序社会,印度和中国不可比(周边)

杨光斌

对中印进行竞争性比较是世界政治中的一个经久不衰的话题。2014年,印度经统计方法调整后的经济增长率首次超过中国,“印度超越中国”的声音又热起来。由于被视为发展中国家西式“民主样板”,印度的“好消息”都会被西方放大,中国的“坏消息”也会被西方放大。按照当下生态的国际舆论去看中国和印度,基本上是不靠谱的。

这里提供一个根本性的比较尺度:良序社会。共同体之善业,是所有正常国家所追求的。在意识形态无处不在的世界政治中,“善业”的标准已经意识形态化,但是对普通百姓而言,最重要的就是要生活在秩序良好、治理有方的良序社会。良序社会说到底是国家与社会的关系,其中,国家有能力提供基本的公共服务,社会有活力并有创新力,最终达到一定程度的社会公正。

就中印的国家治理能力而言,仅反贫困的斗争就一见高低。按联合国的标准,中国在贫困人口线之下的目前是11%,而印度则是33%,4亿以上的人口还生活在贫困线之下。为什么是这样?研究印度的学者都知道,印度是一个“三节棍”国家,中央、邦和基层政治之间联系不起来,是一个典型的“断层社会”。这不,莫迪的人民党刚刚赢得全国大选而执政,民粹主义性质的平民党则以绝对优势赢得了首都新德里地区的选举。印度这样一个权力碎片化的国家,在国家治理上怎么能和具有民主集中制优势的中国去竞争?

但对印度“好制度”情有独钟的观察家往往会说,印度的私有制企业比中国有活力,社会民主也因为其发达的公民社会而更发达。言外之意,中国私企不如印度。果真如此的话,怎么理解美国专家拉迪研究所得出的中国私人企业对就业、经济增长贡献率和银行贷款使用比都在70%以上?印度IT业为什么没有能与腾讯、阿里巴巴和华为一比高下的国际级企业?这些人忘了一个常识,企业之上是国家能力,企业之下是社会结构。如果面对国家治理能力缺位而又置身于碎片化社会结构之中,这样的企业到底有多少活力和竞争力?

印度社会结构是一个活的历史博物馆,千年以上的房契和地契都还有效,几千年来的种姓制度不能被触动,统计基于种姓、部族之上的政党数目至少在2000个以上。在这样的社会结构中,政党政治和公民社会是很发达,在县城和镇上,每个星期都有游行示威。选举政治尤其发达,投票率特别高,原因是政党分肥,一旦一个党控制了一个镇政权或村政权,接下来几年的好处都归执政党。

中印之间国家与社会关系性质完全不同,决定社会公正程度的天然之别。印裔英国经济学家阿玛蒂亚·森在给世界银行的讲座中,反复说中国是印度的学习榜样。福山讲过一个故事:联合国为印度一个地区普及教育而投下巨资,结果5年之后,情况没有改变,孩子们依然没法去特定的学校上学。因此,公正社会不会到来,是国家治理能力和治理理念的产物。

中印两国在良序社会上的差距是客观的。话虽如此,并不意味着两国之间没有可资借鉴之处。在国家治理上,中国政府应该做减法,即减少对资源配置的作用以让市场发挥决定性作用;而印度则应该做加法,即增加其治理能力以实现其社会更加公正的愿望。只不过,两国的社会结构决定了,减法好做,加法难为,两国之间的差距不是短时间内能消弭的。

▲(作者是中国人民大学政治系教授、国家治理研究院执行院长)

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