he term “common prosperity,” though not brand new, is more and more frequently used by Chinese policymakers. For people who seek to understand the Chinese-style modernization, interpret Chinese policies and find new investment opportunities, a correct view of the new catchphrase is important.
At a recent high-level meeting on financial and economic affairs, China’s top leaders have offered a clear definition and policy guidance on promoting common prosperity amid high-quality development.
Common prosperity is an essential requirement of socialism and a key feature of Chinese-style modernization. It reflects China’s commitment to a people-centered development philosophy.
Common prosperity is not egalitarianism. It is by no means robbing the rich to help the poor as misinterpreted by some Western media. Protecting legitimate private property has been written into China’s Constitution.
Moreover, common prosperity refers to affluence shared by everyone both in material and cultural terms. It is not just an economic issue and far from simply redistributing wealth. That is why the meeting last week has stressed the importance of creating more inclusive and fair conditions for people to get a better education and improve their development capabilities.
In the process of achieving common prosperity, strengthening anti-monopoly efforts, cracking down on illegal gains, and encouraging charitable donations are all internationally accepted means of regulation and adjustment. Those moves do not mean that capital or private companies, in general, are a target in the pursuit of common prosperity, but serve as a warning against unfair business practices.
It should also be noted that, in the quest for common prosperity, there is no “ready-made experience,” nor a textbook for China to follow. Achieving common prosperity will be a long-term, arduous and complicated task that should be promoted in a gradual and progressive manner. To achieve it step by step, actions of the central government departments, local authorities and business sectors are already underway.
According to a plan released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in June, China will move faster to train technicians and skilled workers, improve the income distribution system, and create harmonious and stable labor relations during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
Zhejiang Province, an economic powerhouse in east China, has been designated as a demonstration zone for promoting common prosperity. The province will strive to grow its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) to the level of moderately developed economies by 2025 and basically achieve common prosperity by 2035. Its action plan includes efforts to further reform income allocation, narrow the urban-rural gap, and create a more livable residential environment.
Dealing with the relationship between efficiency and fairness has been a constant topic in modern human history. As China embarks on the journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country, it is set to establish an optimized distribution system in which prosperity can be shared by everyone in the country.