Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Discussion of “End of development or age of development?”

“The article focuses on the significance of development to different countries of the world. It notes that there are two opposite sides of what development brings, such as modernity, and the other side regarding development as a failed project.” (End of development or age of development, Abstract)
Rapley, John (2008) took China as an example in this article and stated that although China has a very fast growth in economy, it also needs to deal with a lot of problems such as pollution and violence.
Have you ever questioned yourself that do you feel the real improvement of the world the development brings us? Or we are just stepping to the wrong way, which only increase conflicts among people, decrease the diversity of species, fading the color of our earth.
First of all, let’s see some of the figures that show the growth of Chinese economy.
1990 3.9% 1991 8.6% 1992 13.6% 1993 13.4% 1994 11.8% 1995 10.2% 1996 9.7%
1997 8.8% 1998 7.8% 1999 7.1% 2000 8.0% 2001 7.3% 2002 8% 2003 10.0% 2004 10.1% 2005 10.4% 2006 11.1% 2007 13% 2008 9%
The figures presented above are the percentage of growth of China’s GDP these years after market reforming. This is amazing because China even had remained a growth of 9 per cent in GDP during the economic downturn last year.
By the way, let me mention the graph we drew about Chinese development and its position in the world in the past 200 years. But here, I want to say at first that we probably made a mistake that we left the Opium War between China and Britain in 1840 out. I think Chinese economy once dropped to the bottom immediately after a series of wars from 1840 to the beginning of 20th century, especially the Opium War.
What caused that? We can conclude that British Industrial Revolution led Britain to industrialization, which practically bring a country prosperity and power. According to V. Spike Peterson in the Global Politics book, feudal markets were proved not to be efficient, which was changed by the later industrialization all around the world. As the same case, China is now still experiencing industrialization, which absolutely made China much stronger than before.
But of course it cannot settle all the problems. According to Rapley, John (2008), the informal section of Fiji’s economy prospered so rapidly that many people abandoned the traditional textiles industry. This can be some part of the cause of the crimes happened there. In other words, neoliberalism is not always the best. It also brings the differentiation of well-being, and poverty to a part of people. But that used to be one of the “unknown unknowns” before, which now becomes a “known known”.
Let’s come back to the issue focusing on China. Who is leading in China today? Of course, it is the only communist party. But it’s really hard to comment on the communist party, because we just can’t make a judgment easily that it is good or bad. Definitely, in politics, China is not as advanced as U.S. We are now under a revolutionary Communist regime, which limit people’s access to participating in dealing with politics. By contrast, just look at what U.S is doing. I still remember the day we visited the capital of Minnesota. There was a sentence written in Latin to the top of Lincoln’s portrait. It says the voice of people is the voice of god. But in China, we don’t even have right to speak freely. And the communist party in China is “doing pretty well” than any other parties in the world in influencing the citizens’ idea. They monopolize the media in China. We almost went crazy about the fact that they even had banned the Youtube in China since last year only because “someone was telling their dirty little secrets” there. But we should also appreciate the great job the communist party did in changing an old China into today’s huge economic entity in the world. You have to recognize it’s not easy for you to babysit 1.3 billion kids of that yellow earth.
The problems discussed in that article were undoubtedly reasonable. But poverty is not likely to be swept out right away. Although China has an inspiring large income in total, a lot of places there have many people who are still struggling on the survival standard. Let me tell you a story. I know Jack along with some of the UIC students attended a program arranged by UIC last year. They went to Guizhou province in China, where is in the center of south China. They taught classes there for primary school students. I think the people there may be some kind of the ones who only make $2 a day or less. The kids were eager to learn. They had to climb over mountains after mountains to reach the school on foot. But it was surprising that they got there very early like 5 o’clock in the morning. And it was not until the end of the program that the volunteers discovered the reason: they had no watches or clocks at home! Not to mention the TVs or any other thing made by modern technology. They just left for school every morning when the sun rises, so that it would not be possible for them to be late. I was so moved when I heard this story… Who is to blame? Should it be the mountains, the historical factors, people’s being simple and innocent? And what can we do? Will the poverty be wiped out by donating the limited amount of money to the poor? And what the hell the communist party is doing! This is one of the known knowns of the current China, but they are still unknown with the unknown method.
But such is life, such is the world today. As it is also implicated in U.S’s constitution, everyone is born equal. So why should we ignore those poor people, and consider our well-being as a kind of superiority?
However, it does take a long time. Poverty, environmental problems, violence, those are the endless issues we discuss nowadays in the world.
We don’t care what party will be taking charge of China. We only know that the current China is still blind to some degree. As a result, if we drive the party away immediately, there will be totally chaos, because wisdom only belongs to a group of us. We definitely need further development.
All in all, it seems like that Chinese age of development will never end. We all hope one day to see a strong China not only in GDP and population, but also in other real things that we can truly take pride of.
Source: Rapley, John, Progress in Development Studies; Apr2008, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p177-182, 6p
Reference: 1. Database, Academic Search Premier, retrieved from
2. Chinese GDP growth, retrieved from
3. V.Spike Peterson, Economics from feudal markets to industrialization, Global Politics, P271-P273
4. Michael Dillon, Unknown unknowns, Global Politics, P418
5. From Revolutionary Regime to Normal Governance: China's Long March toward Political Reform, Database, Academic Search Premier, retrieved from

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