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China economy toward a sustainable, healthy development       Updated:2009-05-15 16:14

BEIJING, May 15 -- A wide range of macroeconomic data and a rebound in the purchasing managers index in the last consecutive five months indicate the Chinese economy has bottomed out and is on its way to recoveBut considering the drastic repercussions the economy faced because of the global economic crisis, the government needs to effect some changes in its macroeconomic policies. The government has to pay attention not only to short-term economic growth, but also attach greater importance to long-term optimization of the economic structure. For this, macroeconomic measures and interventions should be aimed at resolving intractable issues that have plagued the economy for long. Workable measures have to be adopted to expedite the country's social construction in an all-round way in order to clear the path for sustained and healthy economic development.

A number of emerging Asian economies had to face the so-called "middle-income trap" during their economic development because of their sluggish social construction process. Some countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Malaysia have suffered even a long economic slowdown or stagnation because of their failure to resolve economic contradictions, or owing to their ill-conceived development strategies or outside impacts.

One of the main reasons why such a situation arose in those countries was because they attached too much importance to economic growth but failed to pay enough attention to social construction. As a result, the rich-poor income gap widened further, leading to slackened domestic demand. The formation of a new dual social structure during their accelerated urbanization process and the absence of a social security net aggravated the existing severe social contradictions. Besides, inadequate expenditure on education and human capital aggravated the imbalance in their industrial structure and fuelled an extensive economy.

China, too, has entered that economic stage. Whether it will able to expedite its social construction and overcome the "middle-income trap" is not known. What is known is that the government's substantial support to improve infrastructure and raise industrial investment is aimed largely at meeting the economic growth target.

Though it has adopted a series of policies and measures - from employment generation and social security to housing and healthcare - to improve people's livelihood, its expenditure on public services and other social areas is still far from enough.

To correct that, it ought to spend more from its new stimulus packages on projects to improve social security on way to building a all-encompassing, welfare-oriented social security network.

Greater efforts should be made to reduce the country's excessive dependence on investments for economic growth. The government adopted an unprecedented expansive fiscal policy in the first quarter of this year to check the economic slide, with investments into fixed assets reaching 2.8129 billion yuan ($412.33 million)), a 28.8 percent increase year-on-year. In fact, investments have been used as a forcible tool to sustain the country's fast-paced economic growth over the past three decades.

It is true, large investments have bolstered the country's decades-long rapid growth. But it is also true that they have consumed huge amounts of natural resources and energy. To reverse the trend, the government needs to take some concrete and viable measures for boosting technological innovation and accelerating the cultivating of a more effective human capital market and improving its investment efficiency. This will help prevent building up of surplus production capability under the investment-fuelled-growth model.

Besides, the existing national income distribution pattern should be modified to raise the ratio of people's consumption to the GDP. The fast-paced economic growth of the past three decades has boosted China's wealth accumulation. But the growth in people's wealth has been far behind the nation's level. An imbalance in wealth distribution has been a key factor for the rising economic structural imbalance and soft demand.

Statistics show people's consumption level has fallen on a yearly basis during the past three decades, with its ratio to the country's GPD being less than 60 percent. From 1998 to 2005, the average income of laborers grew by an average of 9.9 percent year, less than one-third than the 30.5 percent annual growth in the country's industrial profits. The lack of a synchronous growth is to blame for the value of labor being underestimated for long and for laborers getting a low proportion of enterprises' income.

To rectify this, an overhaul of the country's wealth distribution mechanism is needed through a series of steps, ranging from increasing laborers' share in the country's primary income distribution, strengthening the country's financial transfer payment and tax cuts to boosting people's income and ensuring they get their due share in the expanding national wealth.

Apart from that, greater efforts have to be made to ensure industrial interests are distributed fairly. In January and February, the lion's share of the country's fixed assets investment went into State-owned enterprises or the monopoly industries. In actual terms, the investment growth for them was 35.6 percent year-on-year, whereas for other sectors it was only 20 percent.

To break such a distribution pattern, the government should encourage more competition in petroleum, power, railways, finance, telecommunication, education and some service sectors.


Editor:Wang Guanqun