The political-economy blogosphere is replete with arguments that India’s economy will catch, and perhaps surpass, China because of India’s democratic political system. Who’s kidding who?
Take electricity production. In 2009, China produced 3,714 billion kWh compared with India’s output of 665.3 billion kWh. Total installed electricity capacity in China was 874 GW vs. India’s 162 GW. China’s output and grid are both five times greater than in India.
In 2009 China’s increase in electric grid capacity was 93 GW compared with 31 GW in India. China’s one-year increase equals 57% of India’s entire grid.
To this comparison can be added transportation indicators, industrial output, and so on. There is nothing wrong with stating a preference for democracy, but it is quite another matter to claim its superior economic performance in the China-India comparison.