China Impressions

Seeing Shenzhen and Shanghai, all I can say is that anyone who thinks that Mumbai can become a Shanghai or India can do a China has not visited China. Sitting here in Mumbai, we can imagine and dream. But going to the places, one is struck by the scale of what has been created in so short a time.

Two developments said it all in India while I was away. A Bandh was organised across India bringing the nation to a halt. The additional sea links that should have been built a generation ago in Mumbai were further delayed.

A friend I was talking to put it so well: “We build for yesterday, China builds for tomorrow.” In India, there is little semblance of any planning; we are always playing catch up. Three decades ago, India and China were equally behind in the development race. Today, one country has gone so far ahead, and the other still trundles along – a little faster than before, but not in the race.

Tomorrow: Better City, Better Life

2 thoughts on “China Impressions

  1. True, China has built for the future. But it has also financed it heavily from the future. It might drive up the earning potential of the future, but there’s a line crossing which will just drive the future bankrupt. Paying for core infrastructure, with continual measurement of its actual impact in a rapidly changing economic landscape, is fine. Paying for over-capacity, gloss etc on money borrowed from the future is scary.

    E.g. ? Can we say with confidence that transport will be road bound, and be able to use existing road designs etc 60 yrs from now – in the face of rapidly depleting fossil fuels ?

    India needs to move a little faster, but overall, I’m happier with this approach than China’s. Imagine if we had a dozen Enrons! Why is our lifetime important in the context of a nation or civilization ?

    – Sameer

  2. @ Rajesh-couldnt agree with you more. Maybe state should organise visits for common people to China 😉

    @Sameer-there might be merit in your argument and China might have overspent, but there is no denying that India has underspent. and clearly there is no planning.

    But I guess question for our generation is -how to stop moaning and start doing!