In This Review

Asia's Giants: Comparing China and India
Asia's Giants: Comparing China and India
Edited by Edward Friedman and Bruce Gilley
Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, 264 pp

This symposium brings together specialists on China and India to evaluate those countries' post-World War II records of modernization and development and to speculate on their future prospects. In the main, most of the authors give India high marks for its commitment to democratic development, while noting the high costs China paid for Mao Zedong's repressive policies. In doing so, they sharpen their analysis by stressing how in the early years there was a general belief in the West that China, exploiting the presumed advantages of autocratic government, was likely to race ahead, whereas India might collapse under the stresses of democratic government. By examining how so many scholars got things wrong, they shed light on the dynamics of development. At the same time, the two editors and several of the authors highlight the problem with comparing the two countries given the differences in their traditional cultures and modern histories (and the fact that Chinese statistics are not always to be trusted). Regardless, the authors are on solid ground when they conclude that India and China will decisively shape the future of Asia and become major actors in world politics.