[Marxism] Innovation the key, says China

Marla Vijaya kumar marlavk at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 11:22:23 MDT 2006

    Innovation the key, says China
      By Ashok Dasgupta, The Hindu, Monday, September 11, 2006
      Beijing: Even as  China, regarded  as the massive manufacturing factory of the world, continues to register the  highest growth rate globally year after year, the authorities have realized that  the pace can not be sustained for long without innovation. The country must  harness its innovative capacity and find new, more efficient and equitable ways  to deal with the strains of huge growth.
      In a special address at the inaugural of the World Economic  Forum’s China Business Summit 2006 here Sunday, Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng  Peiyan said, “In the new development stage, we can not continue with the  traditional development approach and growth pattern . . . Innovation is the  soul of a nation’s advancementand the everlasting driving power of national  prosperity.”
      Pollution Problems:
      The problems that China  is faced with now are well known and documented. In particular, breakneck  investment has led to widespread industrial overcapacity. The stupendous growth,  in turn, has polluted the nation’s air and water while sparking an  unprecedented migration of people from the poor rural west to the fast growing  and increasingly affluent cities. The fear is that if the economy continues to  grow at the current pace, the risks of even these healthy trends would  eventually prove overwhelming.
      Energy Consumption:
      In such a scenario, how is the Chinese government to achieve  its ambitious goals of doubling the size of the economy – as in the year 2000 –  by 2010 and reduce per capita GDP (gross domestic product) energy consumption  by about 20%? The key, according to Vice-Chairman of National Development Bank and  Reforms Commission of China Zhang Xiaoquiang is to find smarter and more  efficient ways to deliver growth. “We have to switch from our previous  industrial development mode, from consuming large amounts of natural resources  to a development mode based on science and technology as well as innovation,”  he said.
      Sustaining growth:
      At various sessions of the summit, the 26th in  the series, this time under the theme “Sustainable growth through innovation:  China’s creative imperative,” participants as well as Chinese government  functionaries suggested ways and means of sustaining the growth momentum by  reshaping the country’s current policies and agendas. For instance, governor of  China Development Bank and co-chair of the Summit,  Chen Yuan, felt that the country’s challenge was how to stop having to import  technologies and instead develop them at home. “A significan chunk of profit is  now ceded because we can not buy core technologies right now. . . . We hope to  absorb technologies from abroad and adapt them into our own,” he said.
      Educational System:
      In his address, Baba S Kalyani, Chaiman and Managing  Director, Bharat Forge and Co-Chair of the Summit,  said much would depend on improving the educational system. Many executives, he  said, complained that Chinese university graduates, although numerous, were not  equipped with skills useful in the workplace. Noting that India  is also facing similar problems, he said that never had the world seen the  simultaneous take-off of two countries such as China  and India.
      ‘More people must benefit’;
      In another session, Minister of Science and Technology (India),  Kapil Sibal said both India  and China  should devise a model that reached the rural areas and benefited the common  man. The economy, he said, could not flourish till the benefits were reaped by  a larger section of the society.
      “China  needs to liberalise the economy further, realizing that more the number of  players in a market, the more one can contribute to their economy as well as  the global economy,” he said.
      Little surprise that nowhere in the report is there a  mention of a socialist economic system. Even that fig-leaf is thrown away. I  think the realization has come rather late for the Chinese authorities that  innovation is the key to sustained growth. But in an economy that is controlled by  MNCs and expatriate Chinese investment, short term profits will be the only  goal and bondooks for innovation as it takes time and money to innovate and  market “products with Chinese characteristics”. It is at best wishful thinking  on the part of Chinese authorities.
      Substitute the word China  for India and  if the report is datelined New Delhi  instead of Beijing, would it make  any difference?
  Vijaya Kumar Marla
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