在线词典,在线翻译

印度人看中国——震撼!

所属:社会热点 阅读:24866 次 评论:2 条 [我要评论]  [+我要收藏]

小编摘要:中国城市远比印度城市漂亮,这是为什么呢?

I was traveling across Eastern China on a high-speed train last summer when my Chinese host from the U.S.-China Exchange Foundation, who had recently visited India, my native country, asked: “Why are there so many poor people on the streets of Indian cities?” I was taken aback because I had been wondering just the reverse about her country: Why are there so few poor people in Chinese cities?


The visibility of India’s poor is a big weakness when it comes to impressing tourists. But from the standpoint of dealing with the poor’s plight, it might actually signal Indian democracy’s strength.


Compared to Indian cities, China’s major cities are a vision of loveliness. It’s as if a wave of liberalization swept through them, washed them clean, lifted their residents out of poverty, and saved them from all the intervening ugliness and misery that industrializing societies have historically experienced. They have a balletic freeway system; snazzy shopping malls; stylish skylines. And there are more homeless folks wandering around in New York and Washington D.C. than in Shanghai and Beijing.

 

印度贫民窟


By contrast, liberalization has been a mixed blessing for Indian cities, producing both enormous progress and enormous problems. Malls, metros, and freeways are cropping everywhere, as in China. However, for every mall that appears, so does a slum colony—often right next to it. People are getting richer, but their quality of life in some respects is deteriorating as rapid urbanization strains roads and other infrastructure, giving Indian cities the feel of dense concrete jungles choking on their own growth.


One big reason why Chinese cities are in far better shape than India’s is that China’s autocracy has managed growth far more rationally than India’s democracy. It has made a conscious effort to build up urban infrastructure to support China’s export-led modernization, investing $116 per head on capital expenditures annually—more than six times India—according to a 2010 McKinsey Global Institute report.


But the darker half of China’s beauty secret is that it controls domestic migration through a draconian internal passport system called hukou. Under hukou, every citizen is assigned a status—urban or rural—upon birth, creating a kind of locational apartheid. If people want to move outside their birth hukou, they need official permission, which was virtually impossible to get before liberalization. Now, thanks to the need for cheap labor in China’s urban factories, men can get permission by paying a fee. Women have to pay—and take a pregnancy test to prove that they are not moving to evade birth control restrictions!


Once hukou migrants—dubbed the “the floating population”—arrive in cities, their living options are mainly consigned to ghettos, invisible to tourists. Beijing authorities are so determined to keep them sequestered that, on the pretext of dealing with rising crime, last July they began walling off native neighborhoods—erecting fences and posting guards to check identity papers before letting anyone in.


But hukou restricts more than mobility. It restricts social services too. Migrants are not entitled to any of the social services that urban residents get unless they convert their temporary visa to permanent residency, something that is exceedingly hard to do. “They can’t get admission in city public schools or get adequate health insurance or other subsidized services or even city bus passes,” notes Professor Kam Wing Chan, a hukou expert at the University of Washington. Hukou makes city life so hard that many couples leave their children home to be raised by grandparents, breaking up families.


Just when China embraced hukou, India enshrined freedom of movement in its constitution, empowering rural families to move to cities at will. And once they are there, the government can control neither their social benefits (paltry though they are, consisting mainly of subsidized rations and schools) nor where they live. Any attempt at Chinese-style sequestration would trigger massive protests by activists and the opposition, dooming an administration that even tried. The upshot is that migrants are an ubiquitous presence in Indian cities, densely interwoven into the fabric of life like embroidery in a brocade blouse.


In many respects, Indian migrants are worse off than their Chinese counterparts. Basic amenities—drinking water, sewage facilities, housing—are better in China’s ghettos than in India’s slums. Worse, the perception that villagers are straining roads and services is triggering an ugly nativist backlash in many cities. A virulent “sons of soil” party in Mumbai has been roughing up slum residents to force them to return home.


But there is one thing Indian migrants have that the Chinese don’t: the vote. Before every election, politicians hold voter registration drives in slums, making it hard for nativists to gain political traction. But they won’t be permanently defeated unless the country’s urban infrastructure is improved. To do that, India will need to up its infrastructure spending from $17 to $134 per head over the next decade—or $1.2 trillion, double what is currently slated, McKinsey estimates. This won’t be easy given that influential agrarian activists unhappy with India’s urban-centered economic renaissance will fight spending on cities.


But India’s infrastructure issues, while difficult, are nothing compared to the problems China faces in assimilating its migrants. That’s because half-a-century of social engineering has decimated China’s civil society, something that will be much harder to rebuild than roads and power lines.


China’s one-child policy has undermined the safety net that the elderly normally rely on in traditional societies. This is one problem India does not have thanks to its democracy that put a decisive end to its brief flirtation with draconian population control through enforced sterilization in the 1970s. Hence, India’s tightly-knit extended family structure is largely intact, a gift of freedom to the country’s elderly.


Since China no longer has such a private safety net, its aging migrants will need a public one—just what hukou denies them. If China fails to extend hukou benefits, its large and disaffected underclass of deracinated, rural population might become a political tinderbox, ready to explode. Yet doing so won’t be easy. The McKinsey study projects that this will require diverting 2.5 percent of China’s urban GDP to its migrants by 2025. This means either spending cuts, especially on infrastructure—something that would risk puncturing the asset bubble that many believe has been artificially keeping China’s economy afloat. Or trimming the hukou benefits of middle-class natives and extending them to migrants.


Both strategies have massive political downsides—precisely because China does not have a ballot box to resolve them. All its autocracy has is brute force, which might have worked so long as the economic pie was growing. But redistributing that pie coercively is an entirely different matter.


China, then, has not yet fully absorbed the consequences of destroying its civil society—and India hasn’t yet fully reaped the rewards of letting its flourish. So when it comes to looking after the most vulnerable, appearances aside, India’s pell-mell democracy might yet outperform China’s hyper-rational autocracy.

 

去年夏天,我乘坐高铁穿越中国东部。接待我的人来自美中交流基金会,他刚刚访问过印度 - 我的祖国。他问我:“为什么印度城市的街上有那么多穷人?”我很吃惊,因为我一直在思考,为什么他的国家正好相反,中国城市里基本看不到穷人呢?


外国游客谈到印度时,普遍认为随处可见穷人是一个很大的缺点。不过从对待穷人的角度考虑,这实际上是印度民主的真正表现。


和印度城市相比,中国大城市很是可爱。仿佛自由化浪潮一朝袭来,他们瞬间就衣着光鲜、摆脱贫困;一夜间就能彻底忘记社会工业化过程中种种丑恶和苦难的经历。他们拥有优美的高速公路、时髦的购物商场、现代的高楼大厦。和北京上海的此番美景相比,纽约和华盛顿街头徘徊的无家可归者异常扎眼。


和中国相比,自由化对印度城市的影响喜忧参半,巨大的发展和巨大的问题相伴而来。商场、地铁、高速公路纷纷出现,无处不在,和中国一样。不过,每座商场建成的同时也会出现一个贫民窟 - 通常就在商场旁边。印度人越来越富裕,不过从某些角度看来,他们的生活质量在恶化 - 快速城市化过程中涌现出的道路和其他建筑对印度人来说就像混凝土森林般让人呼吸困难。


中国城市远比印度城市漂亮的一个重要原因就是,中国政府坚强有力的领导比印度民主提出了更合理的发展目标。中国政府有意识地重点建设城市基础设施,以支持中国出口主导型的现代化经济发展。每年在这上面的支出为人均116美元,比印度的6倍还多。


中国塑造这些美景,依靠的还有黑暗的另一面。那就是中国通过所谓户口制度严格控制国内移民。户口使每个公民在出生时就被打上了“城里人“和”农村人“的烙印,可以称其为一种地域上的种族隔离制度。如果有人想把自己的户口迁出,一定要先获得官方许可,而这在目前几乎是不可能的。好吧,感谢中国城市工厂对廉价劳动力的需求,男人们可以付费获得许可。而妇女们,付费之外还要接受妊娠检查,为的是证明她们不是为了逃避计划生育。


离开家乡进城以后,他们摇身一变,成了所谓的“流动人口”。他们的生活空间主要限于贫民区 - 游客看不到的地方。北京当局坚决对这些人口实行管制,甚至以控制不断上升的犯罪率为借口,对“流动人口”聚集区进行“封闭式管理” - 架设围栏、配备警卫,进入隔离区的每个人需接受身份检查。


户口的作用不仅仅是限制迁移。不同户口类型者享受的社会服务也有天壤之别。进城务工农民和城市居民享受到的所有社会服务无缘,除非他们能将他们的临时户口转成永久城镇户口。这个很难。他们不能在城市公立学校入学,没有足够的医疗保险,得不到社会福利补助,甚至不能使用城市公交卡。农村户口者在城市生活如此困难,很多夫妻只能把孩子留给老家的爷爷奶奶抚养,家庭长期分离。


中国坚决执行户口制度的同时,印度在其宪法中明确移民的自由,准许农村家庭自由迁移进城。进城以后,他们的社会福利也转由所在城市负责(虽然很少,包括补助配给和教育)。任何中国式的“封闭式管理”企图都会让活动家和反对派发起大规模的抗议活动,胆敢尝试的管理者可能因此倒台。这一切的结果就是印度城市中,移民无处不在,成为城市生活中密不可分的一部分。


在很多方面,印度的进城农民都远远不如中国农民工。中国贫民区的饮用水、污水处理设施、住房等基础设施都远远超越印度贫民窟。更糟的是,认为外来农民占用城市道路和服务的思想在很多城市引发了排外活动。孟买一个暴力政党“大地之子”曾冲击贫民窟,迫使里面的人“滚回老家去”。


但有一点,是中国农民工没有的:表决。印度每次选举前,政治家都会在贫民窟进行选民登记动员,所以本地居民针对他们的排斥政策很难获得政治支持。不过,只有城市的基础设施得到改善,他们的状况才会得到根本改观。为此,印度需要在十年内将基础设施建设支出从人均17美元提高到人均134美元,总计达到1.2万亿,是当前规划的两倍。


印度的基础设施难题和中国面临的接收移民问题相比,简直不值一提。这是因为半个世纪的社会工程已经摧毁了中国的公民社会。恢复这个可不道路修复、电力再通那么简单。


中国的传统社会中,养老问题主要依靠家庭。中国的独生子女政策让这一根基不再安全。印度没有这个问题,这要感谢印度的社会制度。70年代印度短时间实行强制绝育严格控制人口政策后,就被民主表决终止。所以,印度人大部分都是团结的大家庭结构,这是自由人权留给老年人的礼物。


既然家庭的养老体系不再保险,老年移民就需要社会赡养。不过户口制度对他们说:不!如果中国不能缩小城镇户口和农村户口的福利差距,心怀不满且人口众多的农村人口很可能变成一个随时会爆炸的政治火药桶。反过来,中国要解决这个问题也不轻松,需要在2025年前把每年城市GDP的2.5%投入到新移民身上。这不仅意味着控制政府支出,特别是基础设施建设支出 - 房地产泡沫可能因此破灭,而在很多人眼里,这恰是中国经济高位运行的基底。还可能缩减当地中产阶级的户籍福利,转而惠及新移民。


这两种对策都有极大的政治弊端,原因恰恰是中国缺乏一个 - 投票箱。所有的专政都有其野蛮的力量。只要经济馅饼在增大,就能看到这种力量。不过重新分配馅饼指望不上这种强大的野蛮力量。


那么,中国和印度,前者摧毁了其公民社会,后者让其愈发繁荣。而前者还没有尝到这样做的苦果,当然后者也还没有得到回报。所以,当我们把视线对准这最脆弱的一面,也许,印度乱糟糟的民主社会可能还胜过中国的超理性专政。

标签:印度人 中国
8
2011-03-16 09:15 编辑:kuaileyingyu
分享到:
关注海词微博:
发表评论:
表达一些您的想法吧!已有2条评论>>
登录,再发表评论
文明上网,理性发言!
最新评论:
您可能还感兴趣的文章:
>>精华推荐阅读
热门评论文章