In the evening of September 21th, Dwight Perkins, formerdeputy director of the Center for East Asian Studies, chairman of the EconomicsDepartment and a senior professor of political economy at Harvard University, gaveus a lecture named“ Slow the speed to avoid the middle-income trap ” in the“ZhishanLecture Hall”, which was presided over by vice President Ou Yangyao.
Perkins delivered the lecture from the cause of themiddle-income trap of most countries in the world. He said, for most ofeconomies, when moving from low income to high income, they could not repeatand hardly get rid of previous development patterns, which would easily causeeconomic stagnation. He took Nigeria, Argentina, South Africa and other countriesas example. If countries relied too much on exports of natural resources, thenitwas easily to appear shortages during the slowdown and government corruptionduring the boom. Most of countries withhigher incomes were relatively short ofnatural resources, often relying on export productions. Perkins pointed outthat inappropriate development strategy such as neglecting education andadopting a closed economy strategy would slow economic growth. Having investeda lot of resources to build first-class universities, he thought, the level ofeducation in china was relatively high, but the international trade needed tobe further developed.
Perkins analyzed the development and changes of the GDPgrowth rate of northeast Asian countries in 1961-2014. When the GDP growth ratein China was rising, he said, other economies’ GDP growth rates were falling.The rising period of GDP growth rate was the period of catch-up economy.Afterwards, the growth of GDP would be slowed. If putting emphasis on exportingproduction like other countries, relying less on state owned enterprises andstrengthening the Confucian education of Confucian cultural background, chinawould transform from a catch-up economy to a transitional economy and avoidmiddle-income trap more easily.
According to China's national conditions, Perkins analyzedhow to maintain a high growth rate when transforming from middle incomecountries to high income countries. He said, we needed to find new areas with ahigh return on investment, such as the subway traffic construction, becausetraffic infrastructure construction and real estate did not have a high returnon investment as it had been. He pointed out that we could reduce the interestrate for the savings through improving the income distribution and socialwelfare, but it often took a long time to reform. Perkins thought we should nottake GDP as the sole indicator of the social development of our country.Investing the capital to the area with large social value, such as the field ofenvironmental protection, could make people's life better. He hoped that Chinawould put efficient market economic system in place and truly realize thehealthy development of the economy.
Morethan two hundred teachers and students attended the lecture.
Theintroduction about Dwight Perkins:
DwightPerkins, a senior professor of political economy, chairman of the EconomicsDepartment and former deputy director of the Center for East Asian Studies atHarvard University, focuses on the study of economic history and economicdevelopment in a long term, especially of economic problems of East Asia suchas China, South Korea and Southeast Asia like Vietnam. He is an Americanprofessional economist. Before paying a historic visit to China in 1971,Kissinger had made a special trip to Harvard University to ask for opinions ofDwight Perkins et al. Professor Perkins published about 25 books and more than150 papers in AmericanEconomic Review, Journal of Political Economy, QuarterlyJournal of Economics,etc.