International Relations

Question 1

The one-child policy in China has led to an increase in age dependency ratio which is an increase in the proportion of those dependent on the working population. The reasons for that are a rapid decrease in birthrate and an increase in life expectancy. In fact, the percentage of China’s population aged over 65 is increasing compared to the industrialized countries. The other ramification is the large gender gap and sex ratio because the policy had a cultural preference for boys. Thus, many parents were resorting to infanticide and abortion of female fetuses to avoid having a daughter. As a result, more boys were born, which explains the large gender gap. The policy has also led to the decline in working population, and it can be attested by the drop in the population aged 15-64. Consequently, it resulted in the nation’s labor shortage that negatively impacted the productivity of the country.

Question 2

The pattern can be attributed to an amalgam of different government policies and the prevailing predicament during a particular period. For instance, the spectacular decline in poverty can be attributed to the combination of a rapidly expanding labor market, protracted economic growth, and government transfers, such as rural pension. Similarly, poverty alleviation stalled after the mid-1980s due to economic instability that stemmed from the Tiananmen Square protests. Students were then protesting for democracy and calling for the resignation of the country’s leaders. The instability did not allow to effectively alleviate poverty. Similarly, the slow poverty alleviation after 1996 was caused by the increasing levels of inequality and the rural-urban divide. The inequality can partly be traced to the urban-biased economic policies, such as the allotment of a larger share of investments to urban dwellers. Rural poverty can also be explained by decreasing natural resources which ultimately causes a limited access to natural inputs, markets, and value chain.

Question 3

The pre-1949 economy was unstable due to the altercations between Communists and the Kuomintang. The situation was worse in the areas that were not under Japanese control. However, Communists expanded their influence through the instigation of tax reform, administrative reforms, and mass organizations. The domination of the Communist Party was enabled by the Soviet presence in Northeast China. Similarly, the post-1978 era brought positive economic reforms that were instigated by the Chinese Communist Party. For instance, there was the implementation of the socialist economic policies as well as the introduction of central planning of industry. Thus, the market economy was becoming stable, and the country was aiming at improving the lives of its citizens. In the rural areas, for example, China was giving farmers ownership of their products for the first time. The country was also actively involved in the process of normalizing diplomatic relations with the United States. The Shanghai Stock Exchange (first stock market in Communist China) was also opened even though this happened later.

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Question 4

The reforms started in 1978 by the Communist Party’s reformists in their quest to become market-oriented and to perfect market mechanism. It happened because urban Chinese citizens were not experiencing an increase in the living standards due to the disruption that stemmed from the Cultural Revolution. In fact, rural China had worse living standards while the overall economic situation was worse compared to other East-Asian countries, such as South Korea and Japan. Moreover, the Maoist version of having a centrally planned economy was counterproductive as it caused China to fall behind the industrialized nations of the Western world. Food supplies were also deficient prior to the reforms, and the country was almost experiencing famine similar to what transpired in the Great Leap Forward. It explains why the first reform concerned food supplies and production. However, other services, such as housing, were also inefficient. China was not proud of all the shortcomings, which led to the instigation of the reforms.

Question 5

The priority was implemented by embracing the industrial responsibility system which favored state-owned enterprises. Moreover, there were favorable policies where the government encouraged citizens to establish collectively owned industrial services to increase the supply of products and provide employment. The provision of employment to the large population also increased productivity. Moreover, China focused on the production of goods used by the industrialized nations, and the ready market ensured the success of the industry. The implementation of the heavy industry process was premised on the technological advancements that gradually replaced old methods, thus giving the manufacturers a competitive edge. For instance, the outdated mining technologies were replaced with contemporary processes. However, despite the growth and success in heavy industry, there were some challenges, such as the slow economic growth, complication of value chains, and increase in factor costs. Rising consumer sophistication is another challenge as the industry has to always monitor changing consumer needs.  

Question 6

The system has led to the abuse of power by the government because the Chinese government reserves the prerogative of reclaiming property from an individual only if it seeks to protect the public interest. In this regard, even though the Constitution stipulates that an individual has to be compensated on the premise of expropriation, it does not specify the amount of money to be paid. Thus, China’s government bodies take advantage by expropriating land from farmers, especially in the rural areas. However, it would have been fair if the Constitution clarified whether the compensation should commensurate with the size of the land. The other ramification of the system is the increased land corruption which has been a precursor to the improper uses of land and its overpricing, especially in urban areas. It had a negative impact because the high costs made investors reluctant to use the land. Moreover, the increasing cases of land corruption made potential investors hesitant to conduct land transactions.

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