The West will recognize the Chinese model in ten years

By Zhang Weiwei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 12, 2013
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Some say that the democratic system plus the market economy equals America. Though this may be inaccurate, it captures the system's main features. China can be described as an advanced and mixed economy.

China has four characteristics: its vast population, its expansive territory, its long history and its rich cultural heritage. It is huge in each regard. Each of the four characteristics has its own effect.

China's vast population gives it the advantage of scale. China has a chance to develop new energy technology, because although R&D costs for new energy are very expensive, in China the cost can be significantly reduced through large scale manufacturing.

Following the rapid development in China's coastal cities, inland cities are also developing rapidly.

Chinese society is a continuation of a farming civilization. The Chinese people are affectionate about their land and houses. There is a huge potential of China's real estate market. China has a population of 1.4 billion. If 1 billon of them need a house, housing prices won't fall. We need to ensure the healthy development of the real estate market while coordinating the interests of all parties.

Nowadays, China has many well-developed cities. That's not enough. It also needs to establish cultural elements in these cities. "Beautiful China" is a nice concept. The word "beautiful" here does not equate to the aesthetic sense of beauty. It refers to virtues in Chinese traditional culture. In Pudong District, Shanghai, many farmers have big houses. If unique cultural factors are integrated into the design of the houses, the economy and culture can develop at the same time.

In contrast to Americans, most Chinese have enjoyed rapid growth in their personal wealth over the last 20 years. The Chinese dream is now more exciting than the American dream, and this trend will continue.

China's corruption problem has been the subject of criticism. It is due to a surge in wealth. All the major powers experienced this problem during their development. The number of cases in China is much smaller than there were in the U.S. and Britain at the same development stage. When we compare our situation with Russia, which is at roughly the same stage of development as China, you will find that China is much better off.

We must go beyond Western discourse. Take the Gini coefficient for example. The most common metric used to measure inequality is hardly applicable to China. Many rural Chinese have a per capita GDP of less than 200 dollars. But they have their own house, and grow their food on their own land. These self-sufficient farmers are middle class according to Mumbai's standard.

We must be confident and adhere to the Chinese model. In the coming ten years, China will undergo tremendous changes. Its economy will rank number one in the world. The Chinese population that qualifies as middle class will be twice the total of the American population. By that time, the Western world will have recognized the Chinese model..

Zhang Weiwei is a professor of International Relations at Fudan University, Shanghai and a research fellow at the Chunqiu Institute.

This article was translated by Li Huiru. Its original unabridged version was published in Chinese.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

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