For years, a wispy, gossamer dream has been spun by economists working for Wall Street investment banks about how China has managed the impossible: high growth with a very low debt-to-GDP ratio.
The dream has been so aggressively sold that almost everybody believes it. We have had glowing write ups about China's growth, how far ahead it is of India, how India should give up this race once and for all and so on.
Like all things churned out by Wall Street, this romantic story is also complete rubbish.
Regardless of the level of education, we all behave the same way when we analyse countries: we land at the airport, see multi-lane highways, gleaming skyscrapers in the city centre, massive infrastructure development, teeming shopping malls, tall apartment blocks and golf courses. And immediately jump to the conclusion that this country has done it. It has made it. If you are an Indian, you say this country has left India behind by 100 or 200 years.
But it is instructive to remember what a crafty villain in an old Hindi movie said: 'Har badi kaamyabi ke peeche koi gunaah chhupa hai...' (Behind every great success, lies hidden a great crime).
Image: In this file photo, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, gestures to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao before their meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China.
Text: Shankar Sharma & Devina Mehra, Business Standard