The idea that China’s economy needs to rebalance is no longer controversial inside or outside the country. Whether it be the increasing recognition of income inequality at home; the still large external surplus; the focus on consumption and industrial upgrading in the policy discourse; the economic, political and social tensions associated with the major decline in housing affordability; the profound conflict between industrialisation, urbanisation and the biosphere; the profitability gulf between the top SOEs and private firms; or the uni-directional pressures pushing on the real exchange rate; the evidence in favour of a highly imbalanced structure is omnipresent.
Rebalancing and Sustaining Growth in China brings together some of the world’s leading observers of the Chinese economy to debate the multifarious questions pertaining to rebalancing. How are we to make sense of the many, often contradictory, proposals that seek the same ultimate objective of a more sustainable growth model? What mix of policies will be most effective in addressing the required structural change without sacrificing prosperity along the way? Where should we look for root causes, and how can we avoid getting distracted by symptoms? How do China’s unique internal migration dynamics – and the Lewis turning point – constrain its options? What role will and should financial, fiscal and welfare reform play in the process? Where do water and energy security fit in? Can China innovate before it gets old – or can China get smart before it gets rich? And are intergenerational issues being taken into account?