ECONOMICS - History

ECONOMICS - History

In late 1978 the Chinese leadership began moving the economy from a sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. Whereas the system operates within a political framework of strict Communist control, the economic influence of non-state organizations and individual citizens has been steadily increasing. The authorities have switched to a system of household and village responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978. In 2001, with its 1.27 billion people but a GDP of just $4,300 per capita, China stood as the second largest economy in the world after the US (measured on a purchasing power parity basis). Agriculture and industry have posted major gains, especially in coastal areas near Hong Kong and opposite Taiwan, where foreign investment has helped spur output of both domestic and export goods. On the darker side, the leadership has often experienced in its hybrid system the worst results of socialism (bureaucracy and lassitude) and of capitalism (windfall gains and growing income disparities). Beijing thus has periodically backtracked, retightening central controls at intervals. The government has struggled to (a) collect revenues due from provinces, businesses, and individuals; (b) reduce corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) keep afloat the large state-owned enterprises many of which had been shielded from competition by subsidies and had been losing the ability to pay full wages and pensions. From 80 to 120 million surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time low-paying jobs. Popular resistance, changes in central policy, and loss of authority by rural cadres have weakened China's population control program, which is essential to maintaining long-term growth in living standards. Another long-term threat to continued rapid economic growth is the deterioration in the environment, notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table especially in the north. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. Beijing will intensify efforts to stimulate growth through spending on infrastructure - such as water control and power grids - and poverty relief and through rural tax reform aimed at eliminating arbitrary local levies on farmers. Access to the World Trade Organization strengthens China's ability to maintain sturdy growth rates, and at the same time puts additional pressure on the hybrid system of strong political controls and growing market influences. Although Beijing has claimed 7%-8% annual growth in recent years, many observers believe the rate, while strong, is more like 5%.

Reforms began with the phaseout of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

In July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing announced it would resume a gradual appreciation. From 2013 until early 2015, the renminbi held steady against the dollar, but it depreciated 13% from mid-2015 until end-2016 amid strong capital outflows; in 2017 the RMB resumed appreciating against the dollar – roughly 7% from end-of-2016 to end-of-2017. In 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced it would continue to carefully push for full convertibility of the renminbi, after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF’s special drawing rights basket. However, since late 2015 the Chinese Government has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability.

The Chinese Government faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) managing its high corporate debt burden to maintain financial stability; (c) controlling off-balance sheet local government debt used to finance infrastructure stimulus; (d) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (e) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector without sharply slowing the economy; (f) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (g) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital and state-support for innovation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2016 more than 169.3 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of China’s population control policy known as the "one-child policy" - which was relaxed in 2016 to permit all families to have two children - is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and urbanization. The Chinese Government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on natural gas, nuclear, and clean energy development. In 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement to combat climate change, and committed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030.

The government's 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, emphasizes the need to increase innovation and boost domestic consumption to make the economy less dependent on government investment, exports, and heavy industry. However, China has made more progress on subsidizing innovation than rebalancing the economy. Beijing has committed to giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but the Chinese Government’s policies continue to favor state-owned enterprises and emphasize stability. Chinese leaders in 2010 pledged to double China’s GDP by 2020, and the 13th Five Year Plan includes annual economic growth targets of at least 6.5% through 2020 to achieve that goal. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors considered important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive industries. Chinese leaders also have undermined some market-oriented reforms by reaffirming the "dominant" role of the state in the economy, a stance that threatens to discourage private initiative and make the economy less efficient over time. The slight acceleration in economic growth in 2017—the first such uptick since 2010—gives Beijing more latitude to pursue its economic reforms, focusing on financial sector deleveraging and its Supply-Side Structural Reform agenda, first announced in late 2015.

1990200020102018
GNI, Atlas method (current US$) (billions)374.111,181.555,801.8913,394.91
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)3309404,3409,620
GNI, PPP (current international $) (billions)1,118.113,642.9312,325.7821,650.46
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $)9802,8909,21015,550
GDP (current US$) (billions)360.861,211.356,087.1613,894.82
GDP growth (annual %)3.98.510.66.8
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %)5.72.16.93.5
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)271597
Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP)41464640
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)14212719
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)11192418
Gross capital formation (% of GDP)34344744
Revenue, excluding grants (% of GDP)....11.215.9
Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP)........
States and markets
Time required to start a business (days)....329
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP)........
Tax revenue (% of GDP)....10.29.4
Military expenditure (% of GDP)2.51.91.91.9
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)06.662.8115.5
Individuals using the Internet (% of population)01.834.354.3
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports)....3231
Statistical Capacity score (Overall average)....6680
Global links
Merchandise trade (% of GDP)32394933
Net barter terms of trade index (2000 = 100)1021008285
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) (millions)55,301145,874734,6391,962,304
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and primary income)11.713.138.2
Net migration (thousands)-780-1,966-1,552-1,742
Personal remittances, received (current US$) (millions)19675813,63624,306
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) (millions)3,48742,095243,703235,365
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions)2,030.601,749.00671.9-737
1990200020102018
GNI, Atlas method (current US$) (billions)1.591.5110.8410.46
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)270180910680
GNI, PPP (current international $) (billions)4.126.3221.0224.61
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $)6907601,7601,590
People
Income share held by lowest 20%..6.34.9..
GDP (current US$) (billions)1.741.3910.6711.24
GDP growth (annual %)-4.2-0.913.62.4
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %)85.36.45
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)28415245
Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP)17111214
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)13173736
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)28354438
Gross capital formation (% of GDP)7233421
Revenue, excluding grants (% of GDP)........
Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP)........
States and markets
Time required to start a business (days)..626258
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP)........
Tax revenue (% of GDP)........
Military expenditure (% of GDP)21.45.82.1
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)00.124.145.1
Individuals using the Internet (% of population)001.76.5
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports)........
Statistical Capacity score (Overall average)....5751
Global links
Merchandise trade (% of GDP)27365648
Net barter terms of trade index (2000 = 100)112100182159
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) (millions)5141,0992,1583,242
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and primary income)4.3......
Net migration (thousands)-1021910010
Personal remittances, received (current US$) (millions)1......
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) (millions)9115313662
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions)310.6131.3490.2875.4
1990200020102017
GNI, Atlas method (current US$) (billions)569.29695.711,508.741,573.49
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)20,48022,61044,37042,870
GNI, PPP (current international $) (billions)538.64874.381,334.171,691.10
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $)19,38028,42039,23046,070
GDP (current US$) (billions)593.93742.291,613.461,653.04
GDP growth (annual %)0.25.23.13
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %)3.44.32.92.3
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)....11
Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP)....2728
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)25442931
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)25393133
Gross capital formation (% of GDP)21212424
Revenue, excluding grants (% of GDP)19.820.916.917.4
Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) (% of GDP)-4.52.2-2.20.1
States and markets
Time required to start a business (days)..462
Domestic credit provided by financial sector (% of GDP)100.6111.1172.3..
Tax revenue (% of GDP)14.214.911.812.2
Military expenditure (% of GDP)21.11.21.3
Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)2.128.475.685.9
Individuals using the Internet (% of population)0.451.380.391.2
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports)14181413
Statistical Capacity score (Overall average)........
Global links
Merchandise trade (% of GDP)42704952
Net barter terms of trade index (2000 = 100)..100118106
External debt stocks, total (DOD, current US$) (millions)........
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and primary income)........
Net migration (thousands)6991,0271,1461,100
Personal remittances, received (current US$) (millions)..5551,1991,337
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$) (millions)7,58168,30929,71327,526
Net official development assistance received (current US$) (millions)........

Watch the video: Japan - The History of Economics Documentary