Poor countries are poor not because they lack resources, but because they lack effective political institutions.
– Francis Fukuyama in The Origins of Political Order p.14
It’s hard to dispute the above point, at least in the case of India.
Despite the burgeoning population, India has plenty of resources. Certainly, enough to feed its 1.2 billion people.
Yet, millions of Indians, young and old, go to bed hungry every night, sleep under the stars, defecate in public and are prey to countless depredations.
Because India’s political institutions are weak and have been hijacked by the corrupt and the strong. Beneath the veneer of the democracy, it’s the law of the jungle that operates in many parts of India, particularly the hinterlands where little of the fruits of so-called development has reached the poor.
In India’s case, the weak governing institutions are compounded by the disassociation of the growing middle class from what is considered the “cesspool of politics.”
China may not be a democracy but its political institutions are strong and govern more effectively than the Indian state.