Professor Richard Cullen Awarded “Top 20 Economic Essays of 2014” Honour
Professor Richard Cullen’s May 2014 article “Land Revenue and the Chinese Dream” was recognised by the China Policy Review as one of the “Top 20 Economic Essays of 2014”. The China Policy Review is a monthly journal of the State Council’s Development Research Centre (DRC) in Beijing. The article was published in two parts in the May and July issues. It will now also appear in the 2014 Almanac of China’s Economy, an important annual publication that has been recording the changes in China’s national economy since 1981. The Almanac’s editorial board “consists of government department heads — at the national, provincial and municipal level — and prominent economists. Its editors-in-chief are officials of the DRC.” (China Daily, Sept 2013).
Abstract: President Xi, Jinping has defined the Chinese Dream as: “National rejuvenation, improvement of people’s livelihoods, prosperity, construction of a better society and military strengthening.” For any Nation, if there is a serious ambition both to define a collective dream and then to work steadily towards its achievement, a crucial factor in successful implementation is soundly based, long-term, significant public funding. A strong and fair Market Economy can help move such a dream forward – but the foundations must be built by Government. China is, potentially, particularly well placed to underpin funding of Government policies directed towards achieving the Chinese Dream using a most powerful revenue source effectively (and foolishly) long-ago discarded throughout most of the Developed World as a key source of public funding: Land Related Revenue (LRR).
I believe that the relevance of this argument is strengthened still further by the unprecedented level of urbanisation now underway in China. Since the “Open Door” policy commenced over 30 years ago China’s urban population has risen by 500 million and by 2030, it is estimated that around 70% of China’s population – about 1 billion people – will be urbanised. Moreover, China has a close at hand, tried and tested, overall, deeply successful working model to refer to. Hong Kong, now the HKSAR, has done a better job of using LRR than any other single jurisdiction over the last 150 years plus.