China must avoid Europe's mistakes

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 23, 2011
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The financial services industry has grown rapidly in Europe over the past half century, which has led to the massive outsourcing of manufacturing jobs and the hollowing out of the continent's real economy. This background of the European debt crisis has made it impossible for debt-laden European countries to gain strength from their real economy.

China, known as the world's factory, is also experiencing similar problems in certain regions and industries. A case in point is the debt crisis facing many enterprises in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

The "Wenzhou debt crisis" appeared on the surface to be caused by usurious loan practices but was actually caused by the hollowing out of the local real economy. A survey found that the three reasons for the hollowing out include local business people's desire for the huge quick profits from loan-sharking and property speculation, relatively great difficulties for manufacturers and a herd instinct.

Experts noted that China should give top priority to eliminating institutional obstacles that hinder the development of its manufacturing industry, driving speculative money out of the real estate market and increasing the investment in real economy, particularly in the manufacturing industry.

Europe is busy lowering its social welfare level, but China needs to compensate "historical debts" of its social welfare urgently

"The crisis has revealed disadvantages of the high-level social welfare, and therefore, Europe may start lowering its social welfare level," A researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Tian Dewen said, "But one reason for Europe's long-term stability and economic development is also the high-level social welfare."

Compared to Europe, the first thing that China should do currently is not to discuss whether the high level of social welfare is feasible but pay off the legacy burdens of its social welfare programs and build up a social welfare system covering both the urban and rural areas.

The 43-year-old Li Daisong came to Beijing to work from the Gansu Province three years ago and his two children are still in his hometown. Li has three wishes: first, he wants reduced costs for migrant workers' medical expenses; second, he wishes his children could study in Beijing with him, and third, he hopes he could have a higher income so that he will be able to support his parents better.

"Getting a job is hard, school costs are high, and it is unaffordable to see a doctor." These three problems are very typical among low-income people.

Trade protectionism is re-appearing and structural transition is becoming more urgent

Since the European debt crisis is deepening, the re-appearance of trade protectionism will go against emerging economies' exports. According to statistics from the World Trade Organization, the trade frictions launched by the United States against China accounted for a half of all the trade disputes launched by it in the first 10 months of 2011.

"Relevant industrial associations and enterprises should respond to the cases actively," said an expert from the National Development and Reform Commission of China Zhang Yansheng, "But fundamentally, China should change its economic development mode and reduce its dependence on foreign trade."


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