Author: circlept

In today's China Daily: Involve the masses in the nation's reform [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2006-5-17 08:14:50 |Display all floors
同路人, you are so silly. China is merely repeating what has been done in the past, learning from experience (as one should). I give you a few quotes from WIkipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Asian_Tigers

Since the East Asian Tigers were relatively poor during the 1960s, these nations had an abundance of cheap labor. Coupled with educational reform, they were able to leverage this combination into a cheap, yet productive workforce. The East Asian Tigers committed to egalitarianism in the form of land reform, to promote property rights and to ensure that agricultural workers would not become disgruntled. Also, policies of agricultural subsidies and tariffs on agricultural products were implemented as well.

The common characteristics of the East Asian Tigers are:
Focused on exports to richer industrialized nations
Trade surplus with aforementioned countries
Sustained rate of double-digit growth for decades
Non-democratic and relatively authoritarian political systems during the early years
High tariffs on imports (except Hong Kong which has no tariffs on most goods)
Undervalued currencies
High level of U.S. treasury bond holdings
High savings rate
A high degree of what is referred to as economic freedom. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are 1st, 2nd, 37th, and 45th respectively on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.


This all applies to China as well, althought he economic freedom is somewhat lower.

And to refer to a similer topic in another debate, let's quote this:

Since the late 1990s, some of the heat has dissipated from this debate, in part because its become of more historical than current interest: as a result of the Deng Xiaoping reforms, the PRC has one of the world's highest rates of per capita GDP growth. Furthermore, the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang today both view Taiwan independence as a common adversary and are much less likely to assert superiority over the other. Ironically, and to the chagrin of many western observers, it is now common for the Communist Party of China to use the experience of the Asian Tigers as justification for its authoritarian rule. The argument by the Party is that at the current stage of economic development the PRC needs a non-democratic system similar to those that the Tigers had in the early years of growth.


These are things we agree on, right?

Then we can conclude that the growth of China is natural, given that the government is doing the right thing. But the government is not a supernatural or superior being that has surpassed what everyone has done before in history. To think so is arrogance.
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Post time 2006-5-17 08:43:24 |Display all floors

No, This is of Totally Different Stripes

I repeat:  NO OTHER NATION in human history was able to achieve what China did in the last 30 years.  Japan's rise to the No. 2 economy (No. 3 after China, according to the CIA) was from a much higher base, and took much longer.  

The CPC led growth is an expert mix of free market and command economy, getting the advantage of both, in an unprecendented wave that is still just surging.  NEVER in human endeavors had there been such a run, and the run is still going strong, from 30 years in a row going on to 50.  

Authoritarian rule has its benefits - to turn a ship as big as China as nimble as China did, is no mean feat.  

Natural?  If it was just natural, you'd see India, Indonesia, the Phillipines, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. all growing at 8-10% a year for 30 years in a row?

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Post time 2006-5-17 09:12:16 |Display all floors
Yes, Japan's rise was from a much higher base (already industrialized), and as we have seen before, it is MUCH easier growing fast from a very low level. That is Economics 101.

And as we have also concluded, authoritarian rule has its benefits. Much kudos to the achivements. But it will only take you so far, then you will also have to go the way of other industrialized nations to develop further.

India, Indonesia and so on have religious and ethnic struggles, and they don't have the same conditions as mentioned above for the tiger economies.

China is more like Japan, although China has a huge advantage being such a big country with so many natural resources. Japan doesn't have any natural resources, and is dependent on imports. China is like America in that respect, being more or less self-sustaining (except for oil).
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Post time 2006-5-17 09:30:39 |Display all floors

Let's Examine That Assumption

"But it will only take you so far, then you will also have to go the way of other industrialized nations to develop further."

Why would that be so?  China is on a frontier never before reached.  Plus China still has a reserve that is already used in most countries in the world.   China is the ONLY major nation in which private ownership of land is still the exception rather than the rule.  It is a form of inefficiency.  But looking at the flip side, it also means that if the reforms ever get to the point of privatizing land ownership for the whole nation, we are talking about releasing double digit trillions of dollars of new wealth, enough to support an additional decade of continued growth at double digit rates.  

China is breaking many records year after year, even as the naysayers predict a disastrous demise.  Moreover, as demonstrated by President Hu's recent trip - everywhere he goes, China is cutting major new international deals.  China is welcome everywhere - even (perhaps a little begrudggingly in Washington, DC) in America.   Trade with the developing nations especially will grow at high mid double digits for a long time.  

You cannot measure China's accomplishments by saying that it is "just like ...." because there is nothing quite like it.  As long as the CPC is at the helm, and there is stability, the world will continue to be changed by China's soft power.

Now how does mass participation figure in all this?  I'd have to guess:  not much, and that's probably for the better.  How would a peasant in Hebei understand the intricacies of strategic exports, or the international acquisitions in strategic industries?  They are indeed better off leaving these issues to the elite, who really do know better.  

But, taking the example of the U.S. (the elite in America probably has even a higher level of control over the nation than China, but they do a better PR job of making it look like the common people actually can and do influence political decisions, which is of course a lie), there should be better PR to make the public believe that their input matters.  That is for practical purposes.  If you run a nation as big as China based on the whim or prejudices of the collective (through voting or polls or whatever), you are destined to fail.

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Post time 2006-5-17 09:49:26 |Display all floors
China is of course special, because there is only one China. But on a higher level, China has just done what has been done before by others. No one is surprised by China's economic growth.

And no one will be surprised when the growth ends, either. Not even the Chinese government. They know what will happen in the future. They know they just have a few (realistic) options. Most of the top cadres are very well educated, often in technology and science. They will not jeopardize what has been accomplished this far. They may be proud at times, but they will not display that kind of hubris you display here.

The peasant in Hebei doesn't know jack about strategic exports. It is not his business. Of course it isn't. But the peasant in Hebei knows better than anybody else how his land should be used to maximize output. If it only were his land. Much of the rural inefficiency is because the land is not private. Only the individual farmers can make the agriculture more efficient (although the state can put a lot of science in the works). That is an area where China could improve, and probably have to improve very soon.

Then it is up to the expertise in the government to deal with the big issues, like how to make laws, combat pollution and so on, to make the conditions better for all individual farmers, and to give a stable and reliable framework for all farmers to operate under.
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Post time 2006-5-17 10:02:33 |Display all floors

Elites Do Know Better

"But the peasant in Hebei knows better than anybody else how his land should be used to maximize output."

That is again a mistaken assumption.  In most countries, the government has to step in and teach the farmers how to increase productivity, hwo to switch to higher value crops, etc., and take away land for urban development, by eminent domain as necessary, if the perceived social good (an acre of commercial buildings yields tens of thousands of times the output compare to farmland) is higher than the use of the land by the peasants.  That is how all human societies progress.

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Post time 2006-5-17 10:28:18 |Display all floors
Originally posted by tongluren at 2006-5-17 10:02

That is again a mistaken assumption.  In most countries, the government has to step in and teach the farmers how to increase productivity


No. Market forces will take care of that.

And we have had enough of governments stepping in and teaching people about productivity... GLF is still in relative fresh memory. So much for elites.
瑞典人,活着为中国娃娃而死。汉学家、工程师、摄影师、网页设计师等等。爱好:政治、历史、科技、文化等。王菲迷。自由主义者。

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