China’s Problems in the Twenty-First Century
China has made remarkable economic progress after the reforms that started in the late 1970s. Per capita real income has grown markedly. The rates of absolute poverty have declined. The country is the world’s most important manufacturing center and the leading exporter of goods. Most Chinese people now live in urban areas. Infrastructure investment has been astonishing. However, income inequality and various forms of polarizations and stratification have increased. There are serious threats to the environment. The sharp rise in housing prices and increased leverage among corporations and financial institutions pose risks to financial stability. The Communist Party of China retains the monopoly of political power. China’s relationship with its neighbors are complex and evolving. This presentation will be undertaken in light of Bertrand Russell’s remarkably prescient discussion of China’s problems published in 1922. Some of the issues that Russell identified in his book on China, such as industrialization, education, and governance, still apply to contemporary China. However, there are also many new issues, such as environment and financial development, that are crucial today for the country’s modernization and development. This presentation shall examine China’s achievements and its challenges in the twenty-first century.
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