In This Review

China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society
China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society
By Development Research Center of the State Council of the Peop
467 pp, World Bank Publications, 2012

The World Bank and the Chinese government collaborated on this report, which suggests strategies to help China avoid the “middle-income trap” as wages rise, the benefits of technology become less dramatic, state investment in infrastructure becomes less effective, the population ages, and environmental remediation becomes more costly. The report also has a political subtext, which might reflect the intentions of some members of China’s incoming leadership, since the report was co-authored by staff from China’s cabinet-level Development Research Center and its Ministry of Finance. These themes include speeding the liberalization of the hukou (household registration) system, which denies rural residents social services if they move to the cities to find work; enhancing the weak social safety net; protecting land rights; allowing civil-society organizations to provide more social services; increasing intellectual, artistic, and academic freedom; and making officials observe the rule of law. The report also says that the Chinese government should reduce its intervention in markets and increase the economic role of private entrepreneurs, which presumably would give them more political clout as well. With respect to China’s international posture, the report conspicuously endorses the idea of China as a “stakeholder,” a concept first advanced in 2005 by then U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who recently ended his tenure as president of the World Bank.