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Decision of the State Council on Establishing Administrative Licensing for Administrative Examination and Approval Items That Must Be Retained

* Source: * Author: admin * Time: 2017-01-21 * Views: 250
China's economic growth rate has fallen sharply in recent years, from a peak of 14% in 2007 to 7% in the second quarter of this year. Such a decline may be normal or cyclical to a considerable extent, but it will inevitably make people worry about the prospects for China's long-term economic growth. Does China still have the advantages of future economic development? If so, where is it?

To answer this question, it is necessary to understand what has made China a miracle of growth at an average annual growth rate of 10% in the three decades before the global financial crisis.

Is the Chinese economy really an institutional advantage?

Many people believe that this miracle can be attributed to China's strong government's active intervention in the development model of the market economy. However, in the 70 years since the end of World War II, countries that have implemented similar models are not in fact a minority, but few have achieved sustained high-speed growth effects, with the exception of East Asia. Compared with other developing countries, I think that East Asian countries (regions) may not have special advantages in terms of systems and policies. After all, during the period of rapid development, Japan, the four East Asian dragons, and mainland China did not have any political and economic systems. Exactly the same.

Even if there is any system advantage, it should be easy to imitate and learn, otherwise it cannot be called a model. It is difficult to imagine that in the past 70 years, only a few East Asian countries (regions) in more than one hundred developing countries in the world have discovered the systems and policies that are most conducive to economic development. Other countries not only failed to find them, they did not even imitate. How likely is it?

It should not be a coincidence that the miracle of post-war economic development only appeared in East Asian countries (regions). If it is not for institutional reasons, it is also unlikely to be geological and climatic, it can only be human. As we all know, the people of East Asia always respect hard work and thrift, and attach importance to education and learning. Perhaps it is this common culture that originated in China, which makes East Asian countries and regions accumulate material capital, especially human capital, and their ability to learn advanced Western science and technology. It surpassed other developing countries.

The idea that culture influences the economy dates back to Max Weber, the ancestor of sociology. Although his famous assertion that Protestant ethics led to the rise of capitalism in Western Europe may not be entirely correct, the cultural values he especially emphasized-hardworking and frugal-have It is not controversial in favor of economic development, and this is exactly an important feature of Chinese (East Asian) culture.

Sociologists and other cultural scholars have suggested that Confucian culture is an important cause of economic miracles in East Asia as early as the 1980s, but the professional habits of economists make them reluctant to acknowledge the key role of culture in economic development. After all, if Chinese culture is so conducive to economic development, why has China's economic take-off only occurred in the past three decades?

Indeed, no matter how good the culture is, it is only a favorable condition for economic development. Without good systems and policies, it will not help. The reform and opening up that began in 1978 is obviously a crucial reason for China's rapid rise, but we cannot ignore that many developing countries that have also implemented reform and opening up have not achieved economic take-off!

In fact, most developing countries have implemented privatized and market-oriented economic reforms since the 1980s. However, in Latin America and African countries, the growth rate in the past two or three decades has not been faster than the market-oriented reforms of the 1980s. It used to be faster, but it was actually slower.

Regardless of system or culture, it ultimately affects economic growth by affecting the accumulation of a country's physical and human capital and the speed of technological progress. There are actually only two values in Chinese culture that are directly related to economic growth. One is hard work and the other is education. The former involves the accumulation of physical capital, the latter involves the accumulation of human capital and the speed of technological progress.

How diligent are the Chinese?

It is often said that China's economic development is good because the Chinese are extremely hardworking. But industriousness itself only affects the level of output, not the growth rate of output. An industrious farmer can get more food every year than an industrious farmer, but if there is no savings, there will still be no growth. Hard work can only lead to economic growth when combined with frugality. In economics terms, the role of diligence is to increase the savings rate, and savings is a prerequisite for capital accumulation. Countries with low savings rates also have slower capital accumulation. (Those who argue that China should shift to a consumption-driven growth model need to review basic economic growth theories.)

As a traditional Chinese culture, diligence and frugality should not be controversial (such as "Zuo Zhuan" cloud: "Frugality, morals and commons; luxury, evil is also big"), but the culture of other countries is really not as strong as China's regulation of thrift ?

According to the results of the World Value Survey, the people of East Asia do seem to attach more importance to the inheritance of the value of frugality. One of the questions in the survey was: "What do you think is more important for children to learn at home?" Five of the eleven are required. Among the 60 countries (regions) with data in previous surveys, among the respondents in South Korea, Taiwan, and Mainland China, the most important proportion of the quality of thrift is the highest among the respondents (average percentages over the years are 61%) , 58%, and 57%), this percentage is only 35% for the median country, and only 12% for the lowest country, Nigeria.

The East Asian people not only value frugality verbally, but the savings rate in real life is indeed relatively high. With the exception of a few countries that mainly produce oil, East Asian countries, especially China and Singapore, have consistently ranked among the best in the world for the past 30 years. According to the World Bank, East Asia and the Pacific has the highest average domestic savings rate of 42% of all developing countries in the past two decades (1993-2013), 27% in the Middle East and North Africa, 24% in South Asia, and Latin America. And the Caribbean 19.5%, compared with only 17% in sub-Saharan Africa.

High savings can speed up the accumulation of physical capital, but many economists believe that this is not the main driving force for long-term economic growth, and the role of human capital may be more important. In a broad sense, human capital includes workers' knowledge, skills, health, and even values, but economists usually only use education level as an indicator when measuring human capital. Human capital has both the role of directly increasing output and the role of promoting technological progress. The technological progress of developing countries mainly depends on the ability to learn existing technologies, which has certain requirements on the level of human capital. Education is the most important way to improve human capital, and the fact that East Asian countries attach great importance to education is almost a universally recognized fact.

How much do Chinese people value education?

However, China (and other East Asian countries) are not prominent in terms of public education expenditure as a percentage of GDP and years of education per capita. However, although most developing countries have spent more on public education over the past few decades, and the number of years of education per capita has also increased significantly, economic growth has not accelerated as a result. Therefore, some scholars have pointed out that the quality of education is the key to economic development.

Hanushek at Stanford University in the United States and Woessmann at the University of Munich in Germany use two international (primary and secondary) math and science test scores to build a comparable The so-called "cognitive skill" index in more than 70 countries measures the quality of education in various countries by comparing the amount of knowledge and skills acquired by students of the same age in each country during the same years of education (see table) 1).
Table 1 Table 1

They found that a country's economic growth rate was highly positively correlated with its cognitive skills index. According to their data, this index is among the best in all East Asian countries (regions), and it is far ahead of all developing countries.

This can explain why Japan was the only non-Western country to industrialize before World War II, why after the Second World War, except for a few European (including Israel) and oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, only the four little dragons of East Asia successfully joined the ranks of developed economies, and why Over the past three decades, China has become the fastest growing country in the world. Table 1. Cognitive skills index in selected countries

In fact, not only Chinese (East Asian) students have achieved outstanding results in international examinations, but also Asian students represented by Chinese who live in Western countries are also particularly good at their academic performance. Why is this? Are Asian students born smarter, or do they study harder?

In an important study published in 2014 by Professor Xie Yu and his collaborators from the University of Michigan in the United States, the main reason why Asian American students outperformed white students was not because they had higher IQs, but because they worked harder. The culture of Asian families is related, and Asian parents are more convinced of the impact of acquired efforts rather than innate intelligence on academic performance.

From the perspective of Chinese culture, we do put more emphasis on hard work than talent. The idioms such as divine reward, diligence, and proficiency in diligence all speak of this truth. Allusions such as cantilever beams, chiseled walls, stealing light from the wall, and capsule Yingyingxue are all praises for studying hard. This kind of culture that emphasizes hard work will eventually be reflected in children's learning pressure.

According to the results of a multi-country (21 countries) poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2011 (see Table 2), 68% of Chinese respondents believe that parents give their children learning Too much stress-this proportion is the highest among all countries participating in the survey; only 11% believe that parents are not putting enough pressure on their children to study.

In the United States, just the opposite is the case. Only 11% of the respondents think that parents have too much pressure on their children, and 64% think that parents have not enough pressure on their children.

This is not because China is still a developing country, with a large population and fierce competition and high living pressure. Parents in other densely populated developing countries have much less pressure on their children than China, such as Pakistan, Mexico and Indonesia. Only 32%, 20% and 13% respectively.

Although Japan is already a developed country, the pressure on students to study is still great. According to a similar survey conducted by the Pew Center in 2006, the proportion of respondents in Japan who believe that the country ’s leaders have put too much pressure on students is as high as 59%.
Table 2 Table 2

It looks like there is really no free lunch! The research by Professor Xie Yu and his collaborators also found that although expectations and pressure from parents make Asian American students in the United States work harder and achieve better results, they are not happier. In fact, Asian students are relatively less mentally healthy than white students, and their relationship with their parents is also more alienated. Similarly, many students in China are sacrificing their happy time while studying hard.

In addition to Confucian culture, Jewish culture is also known for its emphasis on education. In Judaism, two thousand years ago, all fathers had to send their sons to school when they were six or seven years old, so that children could learn to read the Hebrew Bible. As a result, Jews became the most literate nation before modern times.

Christian Protestant culture also values education, because Martin Luther required every Christian to read the Bible himself when he launched the Protestant Reform Movement five hundred years ago.

Confucianism, Judaism, and Christian Protestant culture make education and hard work a strong social norm, not purely a free choice for families and individuals. Prior to colonial rule, most developing countries did not have a written language, let alone school education and examination systems. Of course, there could not be a traditional culture that values education.

The Confucian culture's emphasis on education has not made China the birthplace of modern science. On the contrary, the imperial examination system and education focused on Confucian classics may be an important reason for the backwardness of science and technology in modern China. However, once the cultural spirit that attaches importance to education is applied to the study of modern science and technology, the power it has exerted has enabled China to make great progress in just a few decades.

This is quite similar to the situation of the Jews. The Jewish people did not contribute much to the modern scientific revolution, but once they transferred their enthusiasm for learning from religious classics to secular science and technology, one or two generations began to emerge in various fields. It can be expected that many decades later, there will be many Chinese names on the list of world-class scientists.

Admiring or criticizing the Chinese model overestimates the role of the system

Since China's comparative advantage in economic development lies not in the implementation of a system and policies that are different from those in other developing countries, but in the traditional Chinese culture of diligence and thrift, and a culture that attaches great importance to education, whether it respects or criticizes the Chinese model Views overestimate the role of institutions.

Without the basic market economy system formed after the reform and opening up, and without a stable political situation, the miracle of China's economic growth cannot happen, but compared with most countries, China's advantage is not entirely in the system. Changes in economic policies and systems may of course affect economic growth, but in a generally normal (non-extreme) institutional environment, cultural comparative advantage may play a more fundamental role in China's economic growth.

In other words, given the same system, policies and development stages, the Chinese economy will grow faster than most developing countries due to cultural advantages. After all, even a 7% growth rate is still the world's leading growth rate-the world economy's total growth rate is only 1%, and all developing countries' economic growth rates are only 3.5%.

Since cultural advantages will not disappear within one or two generations, we have reasons to remain optimistic about the future development of China's economy, and we also believe that in the foreseeable future China will join the ranks of developed countries like other East Asian economies. .
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