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China's Miraculous Development

By late 2016, the world economy appeared to be at a crossroads, in the sense that economists were celebrating the fact that for nearly thirty years the amount of people living in extreme poverty kept falling — but the world economy was overall moving sideways [1].

The case of China represents this dilemma. The scale of China’s economic achievements over the last 30 years has been a miracle — since 800 million Chinese people have been lifted from poverty since the early 1980s, but the economy has begun to show signs of stagnation.

China is no longer averaging 10% growth rates per year, it only grew 6.9% in 2015, proving that many countries in the world economy are in fact moving sideways.

The Washington Consensus postulates that under-development is due to the domestic failings of under-developed countries. For instance, China is feeling pressure from global financial institutions such as the IMF to embrace economic reforms; since China is reliant on state capitalism.

The dilemma is that state owned companies employ half the county’s work force — which is costly for local governments. The IMF solution to this problem would be to minimize state ownership of the economy and nourish the non-public sector.

Amartya Sen presciently emphasizes the importance of free markets and interchange and how they paved the way for new freedoms in China [2]. As Sen postulates, development is freedom; and China’s state-owned companies shrinking from being 80% of the gross domestic product in 1978 to just 18% in 2012 perfectly proves this thesis.

The rise of free markets creates conversations between people that yield innovations and reduce poverty substantially.

Sources [1] Green, December, and Laura Luehrmann. Comparative Politics of the Global South: Linking Concepts and Cases. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Incorporated, 2017. [2] Sen, Amartya. Development as freedom. Oxford Paperbacks, 2001


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