You've heard all about China and India's roaring economies, their swelling middle classes, even their plans to visit the moon. But consider this a symbol of their incredible transformation: the world's two most populous nations are now net donors to the World Food Program and the International Monetary Fund.
But there's such a long way to go. Millions of Chinese and Indian peasants remain poor and resent the city folk who are benefiting from supercharged economic growth. In China low-wage workers have staged protests in the past few years. In India farmers and villagers have risen up against government land seizures for tax-free enclaves and against big infrastructure programs such as dams. Leaders understand that the problems won't just go away, so Beijing has announced its focus will be on developing the rural center and west, and Delhi says its priority is to lift growth in the sluggish agriculture sector. If they fail, and the divide between rich and poor grows, expect much more unrest and violence and less talk of the countries' incredible transformations.
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