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“At this point, China’s economic development is still at an early stage and, naturally, most people tend to look forward. It’s inevitable, but it would be nice if certain elements were preserved—not just for China, but for the rest of the world.”(Mar-2012-People)
China’s global impact is yet to be fully appreciated, but there is no doubt that the country is already a powerful international economic player. There are, though, a number of commentators who feel that the world is relying way too heavily on China’s burgeoning economy bailing out the ailing Western financial markets.
Chan says: “There are those who are placing too great a reliance on China, both economically and politically. In the US, Mitt Romney says on his campaign trail: ‘We don’t give a damn about the problems in Europe, they’ve got to find solutions for themselves. America isn’t here just to bail them out.’(Mar-2012-People)
“Everybody, of course, cheers him, largely because, in the West, politics is regarded as being local. When it comes to China, though, the West no longer seems to recognise that politics is local. There is a definite ignorance here.
“If they knew anything about China, they would understand that politics is just as domestically concerned as it is anywhere else in the world. China already takes care of 1.3 billion Chinese people, almost 20 per cent of the world’s population. That is already an impressive contribution to the world. In that regard, I think the Chinese are doing a darn good job.(Mar-2012-People)
“I was told, one time, that Jimmy Carter, a wonderful ex-US president, said to Deng Xiaoping: ‘Why don’t you let your people have the freedom to leave the country?’ Deng replied: ‘How many do you want?’ That shut Jimmy up.”
Chan believes that it is China’s long history and culture, rather than its potential wealth, that could hold the key to solving the world’s economic problems. Rather than looking for tangible support, Chan believes the world would benefit from learning some of the more valuable lessons of China’s past.(Mar-2012-People)
He says: “Chinese historic philosophy recommends that we take the middle route. In other words, don’t go to extremes. The financial markets in the West, for example, are clearly currently going to an extreme.(Mar-2012-People)
“A free market is good, don’t think I don’t know that, but there has to be limits. When you are too free it can cause chaos and the potential problems that it raises are humongous. Today, around 80 per cent of the money in the world is just sloshing about. It’s not accountable for in terms of the trading of goods and services. It’s purely speculation, it’s gambling. Shouldn’t we have something of the median way instead?
“Freer, faster, bigger is not necessarily better. That system benefits very few people and it’s not sustainable. At the end of the day, the economy must service the interests of the man on the street. It must serve everybody rather than just a select few and I’m speaking as one of those few. You must have the economic benefits filtering through to a much broader base.”(Mar-2012-People)
Financiers will often argue that this is exactly what the capitalist economy already provides. By encouraging a free market, they say, you’re allowing for profit generation that will, ultimately, make the economy wealthy and allow all businesses to thrive. It’s the greedy twisting of that principle that, Chan believes, is at the root of the current global financial situation. Once again, he says, rather than looking to China for economic support, perhaps it’s time to harness some of the country’s teachings.(Mar-2012-People)