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

2013-10-25 04:47:01 GMT2013-10-25 12:47:01(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Xinhua writers Du Jie, Pang Yuanyuan

BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of the recent shutdownof the U.S. government, debate is continuing over how stronggovernments should be, as this relates to their ability to makedecisions efficiently while still working under a system of checksand balances.

Norwegian futurist author Jorgen Randers said that in the caseof China, a strong government and a thriving market economy canwork together to sustain the country's growth.

Randers is the author of "2052: A Global Forecast for the NextForty Years," in which he tries to predict what the world willactually be like four decades from now. He believes that countriesneed to allocate capital in a manner that serves the overallnational interest, instead of just a few private interests.

"As long as a strong government keeps control over centralinvestment flow into society and sees to it that they go in thatdirection, it can leave the market to execute all these things.

"One needs a combination of strong government to set thedirection and then a market to deliver those big decisions," hesaid.

Randers stressed the importance of having an effectivegovernment that can exercise some control over the free market.Free markets that operate without proper regulation are sometimesseen as operating mainly for short-term interest, as opposed tooperating in the greater interest of the country and the world atlarge.

A strong government, Randers said, will meet challenges withmore efficiency, particularly when it comes to solving long-termproblems, such as poverty alleviation and climate change.

Whilst emphasizing that it is crucial to "try to listen to asmany advisers and get as much input as possible before you make thedecision," the scholar warned that the decision-making processshould not fall into "the trap of the standard democracy where youkeep talking and talking, and never get around to passing thedecision."

He contended that a strong government does not necessarilycorrelate with corruption and bureaucracy.

"There was corruption in the West until 20 years ago, and it'sonly during the past decade that we have really gotten effective inthe fight against corruption.

"If the Chinese government decides to do something aboutcorruption, it is fully possible to get rid of it. It will nothappen in one year, but it might happen in 20," he said.

Randers also had thoughts on the recent U.S. governmentshutdown."The U.S. had a hard time making decisions. You are stillin 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," Randersco-wrote "The Limit to Growth" in 1972 in which scholars predictedglobal development for the following century.

In "2052," Randers predicts that in the 2040s, the globalpopulation will reach a maximum of 8.1 billion people. By then theChinese economy will have approached that of the developed world,with an annual per capita GDP of 34,000 U.S. dollars, orthree-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 balancebetween income growth and environmental protection in the nearfuture.

"When you boost environmental protection, this is the same asslowing down income growth.You have to use labor and capital toclean the water instead of using them to boost consumption," hesaid.

"But in my mind, one should, at this point in time, beresponsive to the demands of Chinese society, which requirescleaner 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 Chinesegovernment to develop indicators that can systematically measurepublic opinion for use in the policy-making process. Enditem

(To watch the complete interview, please visit China View onYouTube: http://xhne.ws/xWasz)

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