January 25, 2006

What are the implications if China sustains nine-percent growth through 2010? This is the basic question posed by conference organizers. The relevant time frame is what matters most. If China merely maintains nine-percent growth until the year 2010, the implications are not great. Too much is left unknown about what comes after 2010. Even with nine-percent growth over the next five years, China in 2010 will still be at a relatively low level of performance, both overall and in per-capita terms. But if sustaining nine-percent growth to 2010 means that China has launched on-going reforms that will continue to engineer institutional changes needed for a market economy’s successful commercial and political management, then the resulting successful development trajectory in the rest of the century will generate profound and, from today’s perspective, unexpected consequences.

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