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Debating Chindia Models of Economic Development


Swaran Singh

ECONOMIC REFORMS IN INDIA AND CHINA: EMERGING ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
Edited by B. Sudhakara Reddy
Sage, Delhi, 2009, pp. 413, Rs. 850.00

INDIAN AND CHINESE ENTERPRISES: GLOBAL TRADE, TECHNOLOGY AND INVESTMENT REGIMES
By N.S. Siddharthan and K. Narayanan
Routledge, New Delhi, 2010, pp. 311, Rs. 795.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 2 February 2010

While the collapse of the former Soviet Union and other communist countries of the Eastern bloc in early 1990s had led to a collective denunciation of ‘central planning’ models of economic development, the global financial meltdown last year displayed how the ‘greed’ of the free-market also remains an equally inadequate mechanism. This clearly has put the premium on a mixed paradigm of free-market with strong and dynamic state-regulation. And, this is exactly what has been the model for the juggernaut of economic reforms experiments in both China and India. The traditions of state-planning and economic nationalism here have been evolved through restricting and opening up in a piecemeal fashion, showing impressive results. Especially in the last one year, their cooption into the G20 forum—aimed at rectifying the global financial meltdown—has really catapulted China and India into a new role of global players. Their participation and contributions in these G20 dialogues and initiatives—and more recently their leading role at the Copenhagen climate change conference—is pushing China and India to the center-stage of global debates on economic management. With this increasing focus on their economic performance and its future, several specialized studies have begun to produce extensive work examining their specific trends, components and sectors. In the same vein, the two volumes under review here make a useful contribution in this body of literature. They produce exhaustive analyses on various aspects of China-India economic reforms, their foreign direct investment (FDI) trends and on the resultant globalization of their local enterprises which have completely transformed the nature and scope of conventional wisdom in these areas. To begin with, both volumes are the result of two conferences that were held in Mumbai (India), respectively during February 2005 and November 2007 at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) and at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Both involved a whole range of contributors from banking, management, science and technology but mostly from economics and these provide a rich menu of multiple perspectives on issues of such topical and common concerns. The contribution from the Chinese scholars however remains very negligible and the second volume remains especially focused on India but the thread of comparisons between China and India remains generally vivacious and prominent. The first volume begins by editor Suddhakara Reddy outlining the evolution of India’s economic reforms where he makes few interesting observations. Using empirical evidence he concludes that ...


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