The five ma­jor de­vel­op­ment con­cepts

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

China’s econ­omy is in his­toric tran­si­tion. Op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges abound. China’s prob­lems are daunt­ing: slower growth, so­cial im­bal­ances, in­dus­trial over­ca­pac­ity, ex­ces­sive debt, mas­sive pol­lu­tion— the list goes on. How to ad­dress such di­verse, com­plex is­sues? China has an over­ar­ch­ing, guid­ing strat­egy. Ac­cord­ing to Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, China’s de­vel­op­ment model, go­ing for­ward, will be driven by “in­no­va­tion, co­or­di­na­tion, green, open­ness and shar­ing”. It’s called the “FiveMa­jor De­vel­op­ment Con­cepts”.

Why these five con­cepts? How does each work? Why are they amal­ga­mated? Why this or­der? More­over, since each of the five con­cepts is al­ready well known and com­monly pre­scribed, why now this guid­ing, in­te­grated strat­egy?

I ad­dress these ques­tions in a series of six es­says— this over­view, and one on each of the five con­cepts. They are based on six episodes ofmy TV show, Closer to China with R.L.Kuhn, onCCTV News, which tells the true story of China via China’s thought lead­ers. (Watch “The FiveMa­jor De­vel­op­ment Con­cepts” on “Closer To China with R.L.Kuhn”— CCTV News, Sun­days 9:30 am and 9:30 pm China time, be­gin­ning Septem­ber 25.) These episodes are in turn based on a new­book, Pi­lot­ing China. In the book, the Five Ma­jor De­vel­op­ment Con­cepts are ex­plained in the­ory and il­lus­trated in prac­tice through real-world case stud­ies.

Guided by the book, I trav­eled across China with our CCTV crew to see how these five con­cepts are be­ing im­ple­mented. It was an ad­ven­ture.

I was pleased to find “In­no­va­tive De­vel­op­ment” in the top spot, the first of the five de­vel­op­ment con­cepts. It sig­nals that China’s lead­ers ap­pre­ci­ate the pri­mary role of re­form in the coun­try’s eco­nomic and so­cial trans­for­ma­tion. Re­form re­quires change, change re­quires do­ing things dif­fer­ently, and do­ing things dif­fer­ently re­quires in­no­va­tion. I looked for two kinds of in­no­va­tion: ob­vi­ously in science and tech­nol­ogy, but also in man­age­ment and pro­cesses.

In or­der to op­ti­mize eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, the ef­fi­cient al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources is essen­tial. That’s why “Co­or­di­nated De­vel­op­ment” is the sec­ond de­vel­op­ment con­cept. While China now rec­og­nizes that the mar­ket must play a “de­ci­sive” role, still there are is­sues, such as when prov­inces and cities com­pete with each other by de­vel­op­ing sim­i­lar in­dus­tries. Other is­sues re­quir­ing co­or­di­na­tion in­clude how to in­te­grate di­verse re­gions and re­bal­ance ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas.

Pol­lu­tion has be­come a scourge in China, the de­bil­i­tat­ing con­se­quences of rapid in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment. Chi­nese peo­ple are ex­ceed­ingly dis­pleased to see their air, water and soil so pol­luted, and the gov­ern­ment has re­sponded by el­e­vat­ing “Green De­vel­op­ment”, the third de­vel­op­ment con­cept, to high­est na­tional im­por­tance. One of the pioneers has been EastChina’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, wherein 2005Xi Jin­ping, then Zhe­jiangParty sec­re­tary, fa­mously said: “Clear wa­ter­sand­green moun­tains are moun­tains of goldand­sil­ver.” Putting the the­ory into prac­tice, Zhe­jiang has pi­o­neered an “eco­com­pen­sa­tion” sys­tem, which en­ables re­gions to both pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment and de­velop ecofriendly in­dus­tries.

I’ve been vis­it­ing China since the late 1980s and I bear wit­ness to China’s his­toric de­vel­op­ment. “Open De­vel­op­ment”, the fourth de­vel­op­ment con­cept, is ex­em­pli­fied by China’s free trade zones, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, and Chi­nese com­pa­nies go­ing abroad (build­ing in­fra­struc­ture, sell­ing high-speed rail, even buy­ing for­eign com­pa­nies).

China can­not be­come a “mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety” un­til its eco­nomic and so­cial im­bal­ances— par­tic­u­larly be­tween ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas— are re­duced and poverty is elim­i­nated. That’s why “Shared De­vel­op­ment”, the fifth de­vel­op­ment con­cept, is vi­tal. Shared de­vel­op­ment comes last, not be­cause it is least im­por­tant, but be­cause it re­quires the suc­cess of the first four de­vel­op­ment con­cepts.

As China’s econ­omy set­tles into its “newnor­mal”, with slower growth and mul­ti­ple chal­lenges, Xi calls for mar­ket and gov­ern­ment, work­ing to­gether, to op­ti­mize and bal­ance ef­fi­ciency and fair­ness. The gov­ern­ment, in Xi’s phi­los­o­phy, is “smart”, while the mar­ket is “de­ci­sive”. That’s why his FiveMa­jor De­vel­op­ment Con­cepts now in­form the think­ing and guide the be­hav­ior of of­fi­cials at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment.

For China to ful­fill its first com­pre­hen­sive goal of be­com­ing a “mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety” by 2020, its econ­omy must tran­si­tion and its so­ci­ety must re­bal­ance— and to bring about such ma­jor trans­for­ma­tions, the Five Ma­jor De­vel­op­ment Con­cepts are cru­cial. The au­thor is a pub­lic in­tel­lec­tual, po­lit­i­cal/eco­nom­ics com­men­ta­tor, and in­ter­na­tional cor­po­rate strate­gist.

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