Socioeconomic Populism: The Populist Measures Of India And China

2734 words - 11 pages

Since time immemorial, policymakers have embraced the conventional economic wisdom that expansive fiscal and credit policies would accelerate growth and redistribute income. However, these policies do not necessarily result in high economic growth and an improved Human Development Index (HDI) because different countries respond differently to such policies. These policies could in fact cause crises resulting from galloping inflation and therefore be harmful to the welfare of the people of a country. Hence, the Government takes measures to ensure the betterment of their people during these crises. These measures taken by the Government is to ensure equality and inclusion of the ‘people’ against the elite, thus being called Populist Measures.
This paper will examine the Populist Measures of India and China, comparing them and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses to find out which system of governance sustains a steady growth of socioeconomic populism. The paper will primarily examine; the populist measures of India and evaluate them in comparison to the populist measures in China. As the welfare ideologies are oft considered similar, this paper will help us to study populist measures in two different governance systems and suggest any changes that can be made in either structure. The paper will discuss welfare measures such as the Food security bill, Agricultural reforms, expenditure on education and infrastructure programs. The question addressed by this paper is whether populist measures will be able to sustain a democratic government such as that of India or whether such measures work better in communist state such as China; the importance lying within which form of government can afford to take up populist measures to increase their GDP without hurting their populace.
“An ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite’, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people.”- Mudde (2004).
In a populist ideology, the ‘pure people’ are of paramount importance and demand primacy of the people. Populism is a political doctrine wherein one sides with "the people" against "the elites". However the definition of this group of ‘people’ is quite subjective and needs to be localized depending on the socioeconomic scenario. In any country, there exists a backdrop of unequal societies in which people are divided into the haves and have-nots; majority of the haves reaping profits from modernization and globalization reforms. Therefore, the government employs welfare schemes that would alleviate the conditions of the marginalized people. A part and parcel of political rallying usually involves political groups promising far more than they can accomplish. Therefore, there generally exists a sense of extreme crisis for the emergence of populism, as embodied by trade and labour unions.
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