I WOULD like to share the following excerpt from former regional United Nations (UN) adviser and World Bank political scientist Dr Lim Teck Ghee’s recent article on on China’s new socialism which appeared in The Sun on Sept 14.
This recalibration of Chinese economic policy which is aimed at strengthening the lower- and middle-income households’ shares of the economy is in many ways quite unprecedented.
However, it is a battle which even if it achieves modest results, can point the way to another model of development that is more sustainable, more accountable and balanced, and avoids the pitfalls of the “middle income trap”.
For now, two small wins can be discerned. The first – the roll-back of the privatisation of public services in education, elderly care and medical care – has begun with the Government emphasising the importance of inclusiveness and affordability to service providers.
This important win has been a battle which the traditional left in the US, Britain and other Western countries has not been able to achieve.
The second which focuses on “third distribution” refers to the state’s “encouragement” to high-income groups and enterprises to give back to society some of their over-sized wealth, including through voluntary gifts and charitable donations.
Thus, earlier in April, internet mogul Pony Ma, the founder of Tencent H known for its social messaging apps WeChat and QQ – pledged US$7.7 bil of company money to clean energy, education and village revitalisation initiatives.
Fortune (magazine) has reported that in the past eight months, five of China’s richest and most high-profile tech billionaires have pledged at least US$13 bil of their personal or corporate fortunes to charitable foundations and initiatives.
This is a sum that will surely grow.
Many countries, including the US, grappling with how to redress the entrenched rich-poor polarisation and the absence of balance and sustainability – stemming from the application of neo-liberal ideology – would do well to follow closely the Chinese progress with their “common prosperity” challenge, and perhaps even emulate the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) reform policies now being implemented.
The power of giving
I agree 100% with Dr Lim.
China’s model is not only important for our Government to learn from. Our private sector and the rich can also learn from China’s new socialism.
If the rich of all races – especially the Malays – do this, I am sure there will be less need for the continuation of the New Economic Policy (NEP)!
I have been doing my bit. On my part, I am proud to say that I have tried to practise the principle of the third distribution through my scholarship award to the young and deserving.
I have given more than 300 scholarships to help financially poor students to complete their tertiary education. After my scholarship recipients graduate, they are not required to work for me nor do they need to pay back the money I spent on them.
They only need to remember that when they were poor, I helped them and when they have some spare money, they should help other poor students.
By this way, I hope to create more and more charity workers as time goes by. – Sept 16, 2021
Koon Yew Yin is a savvy investor and philanthropist.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Pic credit: China Daily