India and China – NYT

NYTimes has an analysis of how India is falling behind China:

India’s continued backwardness compared with its neighbor across the Himalayas has become a national obsession. The world’s two most populous countries, China and India were close economic rivals just two decades ago, each struggling to bring progress to vast numbers of impoverished peasants.

But now China, by quickly converting much of its economy to an unfettered and even rapacious version of capitalism, has surged far ahead. The average Chinese citizen now earns $890 a year, compared with $460 for the typical Indian, according to the World Bank.

Only slightly more numerous than Indians these days, Chinese citizens now buy one-third more cars and light trucks each year, 3 times as many television sets and 12 times as many air conditioners. China has high-speed freeways, modern airports and highly efficient ports that are helping it dominate a growing number of manufacturing industries.

India’s potholed roads, aging airports and clogged ports make exports difficult. China attracted as much foreign investment last month as India did all of last year.

Poverty, People and Possibilities

Writes the

The statistics are alarming. Half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day; and a billion people survive on less than $1 a day. The population in the poorest countries will grow three times faster than the world as a whole over the next 50 years. Some 14,000 people are infected each day with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Indeed, between 1996 and 1998, 85% of working teachers who died in the Central African Republic were infected with HIV.

So grim is the picture painted by the latest United Nations population report — entitled “People, poverty and possibilities“, and published on December 3rd — it is difficult to know how to respond to the challenge of world poverty. The UN’s Millennium Development Goals, endorsed by the General Assembly in September 2000, seem more elusive than ever. Halving global poverty by 2015 is itself an enormous task. But other goals, such as the provision of universal primary education by the same date, are now at risk because of the impact of AIDS.