Chinese Modernization Course: Lessons to the World

In the comparison between human development and economical development, human development is also more fundamental. The greatest obstacle in poverty is the obstacle in human quality. “In curing poverty, first we must cure folly” and “In curing poverty, first we must cure laziness” are truths we have summed up from poignant facts. The chief cause of the long-standing poverty state of many regions of our country does not lie in the disadvantageous factors in the natural environment or geographic environment, but lies in the low quality of the people. When the economist Zhong Pengrong did investigation in an area in West China, he found, every day, around 9 – 10 o’clock in the morning or around 2 – 3 o’clock in the afternoon, there were always scores of sturdy men in each village sitting at one end of the village taking a sun bath. They had a famous saying: “Although I am starving, I am sitting.” On the contrary, in another place,the holy land of the new economy, Silicon Valley,we find people working night and day, holding the tenet of “If I fall asleep, I will fail”. Every night, they work before the display screen till 4 – 5 o’clock in the next morning, and sometimes even till 6 o’clock. On the one hand, there are many benighted lazybones who are sitting although starving, and on the other hand, there are many hard-working brilliant people who believe in “Sleeping or failing”: That is just where the basic cause of poverty or richness lies. If we think little of human development,do not try our best to raise human quality, but only seek the one-sided economical development, then, achieving a sustained economical development will be nothing else than seeking fish from the woods.

 In curing poverty, we can not get away from human development; but after getting out of poverty, we will need human development all the more. Whatever high indicator the economy has reached, only when the people have really developed can the economy have a sustainable development. Otherwise,even the rising economy may also fall. We should pay attention to the warning by the director general of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization: “If we detach elementary education from knowledge economy, a fissure might appear between poor countries and rich countries”. Likewise, a fissure will appear between rich people and poor people in the country, so the disparity between rich and poor may grow sharper and sharper. US futurist Toffler has expressed his good opinion on China’s economy:Whether China can “jump from the first wave to the third wave” will depend on whether its people can receive a good education. “You may jump over technology,but you can never jump over education”. Being unable to jump over education,in fact, means being unable to jump over human development.

According to the study done by world-renowned scholar Ingles on modernization:The key to the modernization of a country is modernization of the people. If a country only borrows the fine blueprints and measures from other countries and the people carrying out these blueprints and measures have not undergone a transformation to modernization in ideology,mentality, attitudes and pattern of behavior, then, failure and lopsided development will be unavoidable. The foundationstone of the society is the people; the kind of people determines the kind of society. When we compare human development and social development, it is easy to come to the conclusion that human development is more fundamental.

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