Ecological Civilization, Indigenous Culture, and Rural Reconstruction in China

Monthly review, Volume 63, Issue 09 (February)

Tiejun Wen, 2012

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Summary :

The governments of almost all developing countries are facing the long-term twin problems of capital shortages and high fiscal debts, resulting from their attempts to modernize the state forms and economic and financial relations left by colonialism or copied from western political culture. Whether they claimed to be of the left or the right ideologically, they almost invariably undertook policies to attract foreign investment and encourage domestic private investors to join the global industrialization competition during the twentieth century.

When one looks across many countries, there is a general pattern that seems clear—the greater the reliance on agriculture as the main source of employment, the poorer they are. But such a causal relationship gives a false impression. Up to the present the heavy institutional costs of industrialization with a modernized political superstructure, occurring together with a backward economic infrastructure, have not been recognized. Most developing countries have traveled down this one-way path, and sooner or later they have fallen into the trap of “modernizing” while leaving the institutional cost to the people and the environment.

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