Re: India

Alejandro Dubrovsky (
Fri, 13 Mar 1998 15:15:30 +1000 (GMT+1000)

On Thu, 12 Mar 1998, Mark D. Fulwiler wrote:

> Alejandro Dubrovsky <> wrote:
> > If you consider India to be in good shape, then you can probably say that
> > most 3rd world countries are. The fact that they've got a large industry
> > is just a product of their massive population, but if you consider GDP per
> > capita, poverty levels, literacy levels and life expectancy, i think you
> > would find that, just like the rest of the latter Brittish colonies, they
> > do just as badly, if not worse, than the French or spanish colonies.
> > chau
> Actually, India really is in fairly good shape. There has been no major
> starvation there for many decades (unlike Africa), and the life
> expectancy has been improving dramatically along with the control of
> infectious diseases. Birth rates are on a rapid decline. While there has
> been some ethnic and religious violence, it is nothing like some of the
> horrors that have gone on places like Somalia or Rwanda. India has the
> rule of law (imperfect as it may be),

That this is a positive thing is a matter of interpretation.

>a democratic system
same as above

>and it wisely
> has kept the world's greatest language, English. Per capita GDP is low,
> but improving slowly. Most people are still poor, but they are not
> totally destitute and seem to be happy with their lives.

That's a really funny statement. "They seem like happy people, they tend
to smile a lot"

> More people can
> afford "luxury" items these days. The socialistic policies of the
> Congress Party have held the country back, but everyone except the far
> left now agrees that more market liberalization is needed. Yes, you will
> find many pitiful beggars in any Indian village or city, but the poverty
> was far worse in the past.

Since there are 900 million indians in a very large country, i really
cannot beleive that you have an accurate assessment of the country by
anecdotal accounts even if you live there (and much less if you've just
visited or never placed a foot in the country). Also, the population
being so high, statistics lend themselves naturally for this kind of
thing, and, as limited as GDP/capita, lifespan and literacy rates may be
in informing about the general well-being of a country's population, they
tend to give an approximate idea, especially if they are combined. So,
what follows is somthing i've collected over the last hour (i would like
to include more countries, but i don't have that much spare time):

>From the '96 CIA factbook:

Spanish colonies:
Country Lifespan Literacy GDP/capita

Argentina 71.66 96.2% 8100
Bolivia 59.81 83.1 2530
Chile 74.49 95.2 8000
Colombia 72.81 91.3 5300
Costa Rica 75.72 94.8 5400
Cuba 75.05 95.7 1300
Dominican Rep 69.06 82.1 3400
Ecuador 71.09 90.1 4100
El Salvador 68.88 71.5 1950
Guatemala 65.24 55.6 3300
Honduras 68.42 72.7 1980
Mexico 73.67 89.6 7700
Nicaragua 65.72 65.7 1700
Panama 73.92 90.8 5100
Paraguay 73.84 92.1 3200
Peru 69.13 88.7 3600
Uruguay 74.94 97.3 7600
Venezuela 72.09 91.1 9300

English colonies: (Michael Lorrey's list)

Bangladesh 55.86 38.1 1130
Belize 68.53 70.3 2750
Burma 56.14 83.1 1000
Egypt 61.43 51.4 2760
India 59.71 52.0 1500
Kenya 55.6 78.1 1300
Pakistan 58.46 37.8 2100
South Africa 59.47 81.8 4800
Sri Lanka 72.35 90.2 3600
Zimbabwe 41.85 85 1620

Again, taking into account the limitations of statistics like this, the
differences are so enormous and consistent that my previous statement
would have to be revised: not only do those english colonies not do better
than the spanish colonies (haven't seen the french stats yet), they do
much, much worse. And if india is the light of anything, then the world
is really screwed.