By Xinhua writers Du Jie, Pang Yuanyuan
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of the recent shutdown
of the U.S. government, debate is continuing over how strong
governments should be, as this relates to their ability to make
decisions efficiently while still working under a system of checks
Norwegian futurist author Jorgen Randers said that in the case
of China, a strong government and a thriving market economy can
work together to sustain the country's growth.
Randers is the author of "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next
Forty Years," in which he tries to predict what the world will
actually be like four decades from now. He believes that countries
need to allocate capital in a manner that serves the overall
national interest, instead of just a few private interests.
"As long as a strong government keeps control over central
investment flow into society and sees to it that they go in that
direction, it can leave the market to execute all these things.
"One needs a combination of strong government to set the
direction and then a market to deliver those big decisions," he
Randers stressed the importance of having an effective
government that can exercise some control over the free market.
Free markets that operate without proper regulation are sometimes
seen as operating mainly for short-term interest, as opposed to
operating in the greater interest of the country and the world at
A strong government, Randers said, will meet challenges with
more efficiency, particularly when it comes to solving long-term
problems, such as poverty alleviation and climate change.
Whilst emphasizing that it is crucial to "try to listen to as
many advisers and get as much input as possible before you make the
decision," the scholar warned that the decision-making process
should not fall into "the trap of the standard democracy where you
keep talking and talking, and never get around to passing the
He contended that a strong government does not necessarily
correlate with corruption and bureaucracy.
"There was corruption in the West until 20 years ago, and it's
only during the past decade that we have really gotten effective in
the fight against corruption.
"If the Chinese government decides to do something about
corruption, it is fully possible to get rid of it. It will not
happen in one year, but it might happen in 20," he said.
Randers also had thoughts on the recent U.S. government
shutdown."The U.S. had a hard time making decisions. You are still
in the situation where you are unable to decide," Randers said.
He stressed the fact that China's strong government is
"supplemented by the market."
A member of the global think tank "Club of Rome," Randers
co-wrote "The Limit to Growth" in 1972 in which scholars predicted
global development for the following century.
In "2052," Randers predicts that in the 2040s, the global
population will reach a maximum of 8.1 billion people. By then the
Chinese economy will have approached that of the developed world,
with an annual per capita GDP of 34,000 U.S. dollars, or
three-quarters the size of the U.S. per capita GDP at that time,
according to his forecast.
Randers said it will be important for China to strike a balance
between income growth and environmental protection in the near
"When you boost environmental protection, this is the same as
slowing down income growth.You have to use labor and capital to
clean the water instead of using them to boost consumption," he
"But in my mind, one should, at this point in time, be
responsive to the demands of Chinese society, which requires
cleaner air and water. What should be deprioritized is, of course,
making the rich Chinese even richer," he said.
Randers said he's working on a project alongside the Chinese
government to develop indicators that can systematically measure
public opinion for use in the policy-making process. Enditem
(To watch the complete interview, please visit China View on