Privatization no economic panacea
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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