Summary of The Dragon and the Elephant

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The Dragon and the Elephant book summary


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If you read only one book about the global economic role of India and China, this should be it. David Smith does an excellent job of sketching the economic history of these countries, analyzing the obstacles and impediments they subjected themselves to for most of the 20th century, explaining how they broke the socialist yoke and assessing their prospects for the future. The prose is generally clear and free of jargon. Smith presents ample documentation and footnotes. His treatment of political and economic figures is for the most part well balanced. This is very much a layman’s introduction to the economic emergence of India and China, but getAbstract finds that, unlike many recent books about the two nations, this one is intellectually respectable.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to understand India’s and China’s economies;
  • Why and how these great economies stagnated and then broke through to tremendous new growth; and
  • What today’s Chinese and Indian economic emergence implies for the rest of the world.

About the Author

David Smith has been the economics editor of the Sunday Times since 1989. He also writes a monthly column for Professional Investor, British Industry and The Manufacturer.



Roots of India and China
The economies of India and China are so ancient that it is hard to trace their origins. Even in 9000 B.C.E., there were potters in China, and by 7000 B.C.E. there were farmers. The Indus Valley hosted a sophisticated civilization as early as 3000 B.C.E.

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