[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 Forums 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 nations advancementand the everlasting driving power of national prosperity.
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 nations 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.
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.
At various sessions of the summit, the 26th in the series, this time under the theme Sustainable growth through innovation: Chinas creative imperative, participants as well as Chinese government functionaries suggested ways and means of sustaining the growth momentum by reshaping the countrys current policies and agendas. For instance, governor of China Development Bank and co-chair of the Summit, Chen Yuan, felt that the countrys 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.
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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