Now Playing: Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone (Jason Nevins remix)
From the newest CIO Insight, an associate dean from HBS discussing the IT environment in China as compared to India:
This one surprised me but it shows that a coordinated, country-wide initiative from the central government (whether it be a free market or mixed economy), can be more successful than only allowing the market to decide. The current debate on whether U.S. municipalities should be offering wifi services as a public good, either in cooperation with or in competition with the telcos, raises the same issue.
I delved into some of this for my undergrad thesis on the international trade patterns of Chinese imports and exports and the economic vs. political factors involving globalization. China has taken a very different approach than Russia underwent following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Russia went full 100% liberalization, both economically and politically, and the combined shock of both was too much for the country to handle. China has taken a different approach, preferring to liberalize the economy while maintaining a strict, centralized hold on the country's political environment.
The challenge for Chinese leaders is to maintain the economic growth to appease or mollify a populace increasingly unsatisfied with the lack of corresponding political freedom that other former communist, not liberalized, countries enjoy. What happens if they can't maintain the economic growth?
"The worst case scenario is that you have a revolution."
Here's The Economist's take (password required, try BugMeNot) on China versus India from back in June 2003.