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Xinhua Insight: Strong government and market: cornerstone for China's future growth

English.news.cn   2013-10-25 12:47:01            

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 and balances.

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 said.

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 large.

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 decision."

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 future.

"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 said.

"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 YouTube: http://xhne.ws/xWasz)

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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