China plans to slow growth tackle inequality and pollution

The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has set a target of less than 8 per cent growth for China. Compared to many advanced western countries struggling to rise out of a recession this is quite high growth but lower than in earlier years.

The Premier will give his report on March 5 to the National People's Congress in Beijing. The report is more or less like the U.S. State of the Union Address. The median estimate for economic growth was 7.5 per cent compared with an 8 per cent rate maintained from 2005 to 2011.

China is attempting to move its economy from one driven mostly by exports and investment. The goal is to encourage domestic consumption and make sure that more Chinese share in the benefits of economic growth.

As well as devoting more resources to tackling inequality China wants to address pollution as well. China is now the world's largest energy consumer as well as the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide.

The older leadership is preparing to hand the reins of the Communist Party to a younger generation and wants to tackle issues such as home costs, land seizures, and growing inequality. Even the premier complains that the Chinese growth model is unstable, unbalanced, uncoördinated and unsustainable. This is a remarkable bit of self-criticism. Only foreign investors seem most anxious for there to be continuous high growth as it increases their profits!

Even the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily joined in the chorus of criticism. After a high-speed crash that killed forty last July the daily called for economic development that is not stained with blood.

Compared to the Maoist period inequality has risen dramatically in China. In the last 25 years it has gone from .3 to .5. At a level of .4 many analysts predict social unrest. For much more see the full article.


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