Pri­va­ti­za­tion no eco­nomic panacea

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - LET­TERS LAWRENCED,

Com­ment on “More SOEs to be go­ing pri­vate: Of­fi­cial” (China Daily, Dec 20)

Ac­cord­ing to the ar­ti­cle, “econ­o­mists say that Bei­jing must curb the dom­i­nance of State com­pa­nies ... or risk see­ing China’s growth rate plunge”. I doubt this con­clu­sion, be­cause the econ­o­mists first need to ex­plain why so many coun­tries where pri­vate com­pa­nies dom­i­nate, es­pe­cially those in the West, are fac­ing ane­mic growth. As schol­ars they should give facts and fig­ures about these coun­tries rather than mak­ing out­ra­geous state­ments.

The very def­i­ni­tion of growth is con­tro­ver­sial. The Western way is mostly to go by mean­ing­less GDP, which nor­mally in­cludes all fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions. For ex­am­ple, if a coun­try pol­lutes its air, soil and wa­ter bod­ies and then takes mea­sures to clean them up, the very cost of do­ing so is in­cluded in GDP. Thus the more pol­lu­tion a coun­try gen­er­ates and sub­se­quently takes mea­sures to re­duce it, the more the process con­trib­utes to GDP.

There are in­nu­mer­able other ex­am­ples where such “GDP” or “em­ploy­ment” are not only of low or zero util­i­tar­ian value, but also ab­so­lutely harm­ful to a coun­try’s so­cial and cul­tural mi­lieu.

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