The benefits of a slower China
“Can we slow down? In the year 2020, how will we interpret China’s historical changes up until 2010? Will we regret developing so quickly when we did not have a clear idea of our goals? If that’s true, how can we claim that we are in the process of creating a beautiful new world that justifies sacrifices?”
These questions are posed in the latest editorial of the Economic Observer, the English edition of the weekly Chinese newspaper. After listing several of the economic, infrastructure and trade achievements of the People’s Republic in the decade of 2001-10, the newspaper asks, is it time to revise China’s development model.
“We have exhausted our natural resources. Our environment will not recover even if we doubled our investment efforts in the future, and we have parted ways with our green hills and clear water. We have dismantled old walls but history will remain in our memories; our countryside has strived to enter the era of urbanization. But we will eventually learn that if we seize farmers’ lands in the name of establishing a new life, we are destroying not only their land, but their respect for public authority.”
We can slow down, suggest the Economic Observer’s editors, if we examine China’s rapid economic growth of the past three decades. “If we can have more dialogue with the world, if we can listen to the voices of the people and design development path that reflects their needs, if we give up fast profits for steady earnings, and a decent, happy life, why shouldn’t we slow down?”
“If we choose to maintain our current development speed at any cost, it will be impossible to slow down in the future. Slow growth does not need to signal failure; nor will China’s strength be overshadowed. If a country chooses to make its citizens happy instead of seeking recognition solely based on economic figures, it will receive more respect from the whole world. To its population of over a billion, China will be a kinder, more attractive place to live.”