China’s Shaky Economic Foundation

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion: (Joshua Muldavin, professor of human geography at Sarah Lawrence College): “Like China’s leadership, the world should continue to play close attention to Wukan and to the tens of thousands of incidents of rural unrest that occur each year in China, the vast majority resulting from land grabs. Why? Because what happens to China’s peasants is crucial to our collective future.

“The Wukan incident reveals the shaky foundation of China’s rise to economic super power. It is built upon an unresolved land struggle with hundreds of millions of lives in the balance. Anything that negatively alters the quality of life of China’s rural majority has the potential to impact the already fragile global economy, sending ripples across the world.

“The result is the complete loss of land for approximately 75 million peasants who join the over 200 million rural residents migrating around China daily in search of work.

“Land loss leaves many rural families — still the majority of China’s population — without access to enough land to produce their food. …Their rising anger and desperation is seen in other rural areas nationwide.

“Land grabs are part and parcel of growing social inequality in China. …China today rivals the most unequal countries in the world. The 400 million Chinese at the bottom face continual threats to their livelihoods through land loss.

“Beijing’s success in quelling daily unrest around the country, mainly through the use of local officials as scapegoats, fails to address the fundamental problem: a development path built on an eroding foundation of unjust land grabs, environmental destruction, social polarization and the resulting vulnerability of the country’s poorest and most marginal people. Until these structural issues are addressed, the Wukan incident will only be a harbinger of things to come.”

My Comment: In this case, too, we see that only the gradual creation of correct social relations of mutual guarantee will be able to bring peace and prosperity to this fragile society.

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