How to evaluate the issues of social justice in China since reform and opening up, becoming an important bearing on the future development direction of the real problems.
Since the third plenary session of China’s social transformation, and includes two levels: one is the transition from planned economy to a socialist market economic system; the second is the transition from traditional to modern society; this is the basic background for the development of social justice. An obvious but often overlooked question is basis of social justice and demand in today’s China, with 27 years ago are very different. In 1978, the main demand of social justice in China is to remove large areas of social discrimination, to people to choose life, the independent right to freedom and equality of economic and social activities. In this sense, social justice in China since reform and opening up has made historic progress.
These historic progress we summarized it for several aspects:
First, clear the “left” political discrimination policy, social and political equality underlying basic establishment.
Equality of rights is the first Essentials of social justice. Before 1978, China was one of the social features, formation of serious social discrimination exists based on political reasons. Quite proportion of social crowd because political problem and “class” Division was into alternative (for example: “black five class”; various anti-Party Group, and traitor group; various opportunities doctrine molecular or group; bourgeois intellectuals; go capitalism road of power sent; all above “molecular” of family members, and relatives, and subordinate or just only some contact of friends, and colleagues; and so on), they in political economic social, each aspects suffered discrimination. Elimination of discrimination by the politics of interest to the masses as a result of non-justice, recovery related groups of equal rights and normal social life, with Deng Xiaoping as the representative of the party’s “second generation of collective leadership,” one of the major initiatives of chaos.
These moves, turning importance to implementation of basic human rights in Chinese society. About the end of 1982, there were about 3 million cadres be rehabilitated, some more than 470,000 Communist Party is restored, millions of relatives, as a result of these cadres have working relationships with these cadres were implicate innocent of cadres and the masses, be free. Plus the original Kuomintang military and political personnel, personnel of the exploiting classes and their family members, the majority of the intellectual class, restoring equal rights to turn up at least two times the number of members of the community.
End of the Communist Party of “taking class struggle as the key link” power of thought is the political basis of the above policy, the new political line beyond the traditional class struggle perspective, comply with the large-scale mass class struggle during the period of Socialist construction will gradually fade out the historical necessity. The line adjustment and related measures of far-reaching significance, not only equal rights is also a party to, and, indeed, has declared a “political criteria” tag crowd the end of the era, it greatly enhances the level of human rights in China, thawing an invaluable to future modernization of human resources, for the primary stage of socialism laid a solid political foundation for the development of social justice.
Second, the important foundation for the construction of market mechanism of social justice.
Market system of established makes social just of reality Foundation occurred has great of change, first basic economic system of changes–ownership from single of-public to to-public for main, and multiple ownership common development change, led people which living of economic social organization of ownership property became variety, people of economic relationship also diversification has; second income distribution system of changes–national led of national unified of wage system on most “units” (national full funding of organs, and institutions except) of salary system lost has statute role, market led of by elements distribution, and distribution according to work, and by contribution distribution became mainstream; its three in life consumption aspects, because income level of different, also because market of development soon makes merchandise array, people of consumption ability and lifestyle rendering vary widely of scene, past of with mass of survival scenario no longer; its four in human resources of configuration Shang, national distribution no longer is main placement forms, and by labor market, and talent market, and technology and capital markets, instead, because ability, and opportunities, and hard, causes, also education degree, and also age of people, by get of posts and social status may difference very large; sth sth. In short, as reflected in the past many things with digestion of Socialist fair, fairness in the market economy (the principle of fair competition, efficiency, competence, and so on) to extremely fast speeds expansion, market competition, and market adjustment effects become important way for justice.
Marx and Engels have certainly fair with important features of the market economy. They believe that modern equality is essentially a modern market economy and freedom (at that time expressed as commodity economy) development products. With a historical perspective, now that the market economy is mankind the social economic formation necessary stage of the process of natural history, adapt to market requirements of justice must human social justice is a necessary stage in the development process. Market-leading social mode of production, implementation of economic slavery, incomparable for feudal economic social justice, is realization of different from the traditional planned economy a fair social justice. Tied Yu Tianran presents;, administrative command of all kinds of bonds will be ruthlessly cut, family background, status differences, geographic segmentation, ownership privileges and so on de facto inequalities will be gradually breaking down.
Under the influence of market economy, modern color just hotbed of ideas also obtained a rapid growth. Undoubtedly, the market is conducive to the formation of the spirit of freedom, equality, social cooperation. In a market system, everyone has the right to free and independent choice of career and lifestyle, the basic concept of equality of rights and therefore enjoys popular support. Market competition is harsh, realistic, everyone, with return on effort, ability to obtain natural, equal proportion therefore (according to contribution) can easily be understood by the majority of ideas. Social Division under the market while the social differentiation as an increasing number of professional sectors, interest groups, one side of the conflict of interests between them, but more depend on each other’s side, each and every social group cannot be separated from the community, are in need of social partners, in cooperation with other groups in society to realize their own interests. Social partnership, social responsibility concept still has considerable space for growth. In short, in the new period, the Socialist market economy has no choice but to become the foundation of social justice and an important approach in China.
Third, encourage individuals through a system of self-consistency effort to obtain entitlement conditions are formed.
One of the important progress and characteristics of modern society, independence, freedom and equality of people; the important elements of modern social justice, is the free flow of clear social (geographical mobility, job opening, class promotion) barriers established people through self-consistency effort gets deserve encouragement, derived from assurance mechanisms.
After 1978, loose and even free countries and units on personal guardianship of excessively strict control, respect for personal choice, recognize individual efforts, confirm an individual’s subjective position, gradually become a trend of social change. Personal one-way dependence of the gradually emerging from the unit, geographical boundaries, gather, and various organizations and units, the power of dialogue with the Government, gather autonomous careers increasingly free movement and equal rights, individual freedom was extended with turning significance.
Examples,, as personal and “units” Zhijian of two-way selection has became social normal; and as as household registration system of reform, personal gradually made different regional Zhijian flow and the settled of opportunities, and gradually promote contemporary China to migration free, and living free development; also as, personal gradually made urban and rural Zhijian flow and the settled of opportunities; then as, personal independent careers and venture gradually became employment of mainstream, became created own happiness life of decisive factors.
Recognition of personal effort in the decisive role of personal income, is one of the most basic elements of social justice in the new period, it means that the connotation of social justice, has from the last major results-oriented equity, changes to the first requests for equal opportunity, fair rules, greater demands for social justice.
Four, from a dollar of income distribution into plural.
Combining distribution according to work and distribution according to contribution of production factors, development of personal income from the income of one dollar to the diversification of income sources, diversity, reflected after 1978 great changes in the distribution of the income structure and community, constitute a major feature of social justice in the new period.
Opening up, and socialist market economy have greatly changed the basic condition for social justice in China, our main aspect of this change is certainly a very positive, is sustainable, but also cannot be taken lightly or accumulated problems exposed in the development. Now it appears natural differentiation of the market economy is difficult to avoid, market economy brought us unprecedented economic prosperity while, also behind the other side of the boom, that people get development results are not equal and not equal nature on full display in the world.
First, some asymmetry of rights and obligations of citizens.
The fundamental rights of citizens can be simply divided into political and economic and social rights. Which is the most basic civil, for realization of the economic and social rights because it has a decisive effect. Today “people” of connotation occurred has too large of changes, its features is from “with mass of” change for “different mass of”, interests subdivision of became reality, interests conflict increasingly obvious, public policy on people of interests profit and loss of associated of is high, this status on more need in public decision in the let all related interests groups (gain groups and profit and loss groups) has effectively of discourse right, let they understanding situation, published views, then only integration into policy products.
But our decision-making system has not been changed completely “top down” the dominant path, vulnerability of public decision out of the grass-roots public opinion is very large. Reality rarely do exist in a variety of political expression of lack of resources, political groups (mainly ordinary workers and peasants). Hot problems of various interests of the community actually exists behind the political problems of the disadvantaged. Asymmetric rights and obligations (right is not guaranteed but are forced to undertake the reforms for economic efficiency at the expense of obligations), as the main feature of today’s vulnerable groups. They can only choose outside the system, activist of the radical method: mass events, planted to social factors of instability, which in turn were further political exclusion.
Second, the unfair social distribution problems.
Currently on the definition of unfair distribution of very complex, there are unreasonable and unfair distribution of social resources allocation in two categories. For example, owned assets in China, its benefits should belong to all people, for example part should have as against the national social security fund. In theory, Chinese workers is not like a normal market economy country as laborers to proletarian identity to enter the market, they are the common owner of number 10 trillion State-owned assets, if the reform of property right is not considered this point, that is typical of unfair distribution.
Various data on China’s Gini coefficient now has a familiar, China’s income gap between urban and rural areas also generally between 3:1 per cent, second only to South Africa and Zimbabwe, ranking third in the world. And speed of China’s income gap, in roughly the same historical period was the fastest in the world.
Also highlighted is here, the Government should face the present imbalance in the labour relations in China, and accept responsibility for regulating labour distribution, protection of labour. Clear distribution according to contribution of production factors, capital as one of the factors of production has the right to get return on investment, is the appropriate adjustment of the primary stage of socialism distribution system, it goes without saying that the rationality. However, as the capital in the Organization a key role in the production process, as well as the scarcity of capital, is bound to occupy a favorable position in the distribution, making capital contribution effects are amplified and because ordinary Chinese labor surplus State naturally disadvantaged in the labour distribution, labour element contribution not reasonably reflected its allocated share being encroached. China’s current strong labour relations on the objective pattern of weak labor capital, cannot be changed in the short term, the contribution rate on income gap and the gap is enormous. As a National Socialist Government, must ensure the protection of labour, ensure the strong power of labor in the capital can be allocated share. We have two types of intervention: first, the rule of law in Western countries experiences, strengthening social legislation; second, play to our strengths, targeted group within the trade union activities and ideological and political work.
Third, lagging social policy issues.
Based on the experience of developed market economy countries in General, social policy is outside the market mechanism, system of maintenance of law and social justice policies. Social policy of content, has part is intervention and specification “once distribution” of legislative, as minimum wage system, and progressive tax system,; main part is determine Government transfer paid of “II times distribution” legislative, its core is social security system system (including endowment insurance, and unemployment insurance, and medical insurance, and injuries insurance, and fertility insurance,) and social welfare service system (including public health policy, and education policy, and housing policy, and public traffic,).
China’s planned economy, personal benefits is in conjunction with patterns of rural-urban split and labor insurance system of units, the implementation is a special mode for social welfare development, social policy was not separate from the national macro policy system. Characteristics of social security in the past as a socialist system in China, today still is to show the superiority of the Socialist symbol, but China is a developing country, required financial capacity of the social policy, lack of institutionalized abilities relative; segmentation of Chinese urban and rural areas is also a long-term social and social policy (urban-rural) identity features non-obvious, serious debt. Due to various objective and subjective factors, current social policy supply and seriously cannot adapt to the economic and social development, social policy with economic policy position asymmetry, lag significantly. In the process of modernization, economic policy focused on solving economic problems, in a certain sense it reflect economic life, equal opportunity and fair rules; redistribution of social policy was mainly resolved issues in the field, it is to a large extent to reflect social justice issues. For a healthy society, economic policy is of course very important, but only emphasized the absence of long-term economic and social policies, it would create serious social problems, the result may well be a minority cannot guarantee that the benefit of most people’s basic dignity and survival. We are to achieve balanced development and coordination of economic and social development, we must first make symmetrical balanced economic and social policies, offset each other to promote each other.
Current social policies in its infancy in China, many things in exploration. For example, old-age insurance system: China’s endowment insurance system designed primarily for salaried workers, but serious payment rates are low (most of “three-capital” enterprises and workers in private enterprises are not willing to pay), received little support year after year, without arriving support, personal account of empty account. Designing such a system is not sustainable, way violates the basic rights of pension payment, and secondly the Government burden is too heavy for potentially greater risks and fair results were not good, because the system did not cover farmers, Government subsidies, the more urban-rural gap is large. To study why the majority of non-public economic organizations do not want to pay? If there is a mandatory law is not in place? Disproportionate to the rights and obligations of payment? Excess marketization of issues such as medical health system: medical units was undertaken by health-care social services severely degraded, commercialization of the hospital, due to diseases caused by poverty, despised by the public is very serious and increased the gap. Medical insurance (per cent of the urban working population of one-third) have no sense of, let alone in the countryside, the original cooperative medical system with the abolition of the system of people’s commune disintegration, new cooperation medical system has not yet fully pushed, of Government medical services is in fact vacant. Some scholars believe that China’s social security problem lies in the Government to take all, occupied the space of the market mechanism could play a role; social (welfare) services the Government fall too far, the Government basic push responsibility to the market.  this view was targeted, worth thinking about.
Face the task of social policy in China’s complex, difficult, unique, conflicts of interest, concept work, population pressure, excess labor and globalization as a result of international pressure, make social policy choice of China’s space is very narrow. We do not expect to resolve many social problems overnight, but get out of the mess, on balance, to gradually improve social policies, has become one of our most important construction of social justice.
IV, social differentiation and elite Alliance issues .
Development of market economy, greatly promoted the social stratum differentiation in China. Mainstreaming social differentiation is consistent with the trend of social progress, social phenomenon but some combination of differentiation is distorted, it exacerbated the social injustice, should pay attention to.
For example large low-income populations exist, especially China–the main social groups of ordinary workers and farmers vulnerable issue on socialist social justice cannot be questioned.
Any normal society, there will be a lower-income groups, whose members mainly for the sick and disabled persons, also has a small number of Western countries are reluctant to work voluntary the tramp. But China’s problem is that there is not only a general sense of sick low-income groups, serious is that some of the large Chinese community groups such as the working class, peasant class, its income from a large number of members in the low end, basically no bargaining in economic relations.
Workers and peasants also become the biggest victims of environmental damage. The so-called “three wastes” (emissions, waste water, waste), front-line workers and local farmers were direct victims. This environmental disaster victims is actually in China, they are working on the basic no protection under the conditions of work, their drinking water is contaminated, they breathe exhaust dust. In recent years occurred because the environmental pollution caused by group events all over, people the general enthusiasm mounts, targeted at the Government.
Another example is more wary of the social elite of the “Alliance of interests” adverse symptoms.
Due to the process of social progress, naturally produce the economic elite, political elite, the intellectual elite. Normal natural social phenomenon is the emergence of elite groups. For the purposes of social development, whether from the efficiency point of view or from the angle of fair, the elite are essential.
From an efficiency point of view, elite has taken on increasingly complex modern economy and society of various management, creative services, their knowledge, ability, judgment, selection, planning and action for social development made a great contribution. The so-called “thousand arms made easy, difficult to get a will”, stating that elite is very important, very valuable since ancient times. From the perspective of Justice, elites as long as it is to follow the principle of equal opportunity, the ability of higher social status, is reasonable, beneficial to the long-term development of our society is. Their success made a demonstration to the lower people, pushing them to work hard, conducive to creativity of society as a whole increased.
But it is different from the traditional social, elite groups in modern society not only should be open, all kinds of elite social functions should have a clear boundary. Such as the political elite of the function is to play a role in social and political life, they are available to the public public powers entrusted to them, should largely public nature. Function is the production of the Organization of the economic elite, investment management, wealth creation, they ought to keep the market. Elite should reflect scientific knowledge, independence, so they can maintain a clear mind and conscience, assume the creative function and development of advanced productive forces and advanced culture, and became a social conscience.
Elite advantages due to occupy in a variety of resources, in the event of improper function of confusion with each other, interest association, then the social interests of the public tend to be occupied. Such as economic and political elite of the elite Alliance economic elite is possible through non-market channels, get interest, thus undermining the fairness of the market; political elite public and private, set rental rent, such as political corruption and money politics, Government-binding will come one after another. Knowledge Alliance or economic elite and the political elite of the elite, academic, science of Queen’s counsel, commercialization, of pseudoscience. Theorist, lore, which is not for the politicians to play, “right to theory”, “right man” is not normal.
The existence of a large number of low income people displaying allocation results of society of China has been unfair, if the elite with different developments in strong mutual use and interest of the Community Association, China social opportunities fair, rules of equity will not be guaranteed, thereby further increasing the result unfair. This social division will increasingly lead to social alienation, aroused strong displeasure, or even cause social unrest. Socialist nature of China, the Communist Party’s ruling Foundation will therefore be substantial damage, might eventually make China’s modernization is compromised. Can sleep comfort is that the current Government at all levels have been the large number of poor quality of life of workers and peasants start alert of severity of the problem, experts recommended to the economic development of the “25 planning” to focus on social security for low-income population issues (GAO Shangquan, 2005), the members of the have been devoted to issues of income distribution, “low” has been established as principles on the allocation of further reform in the system. Elite Alliance of interests of the community’s attacks are increasingly deep, regulations relating to the system is perfect. But this is just the start, how to fundamentally curb of ordinary workers and farmers vulnerable, contain strong group through the interest of the community Union monopoly right, decision right, distribution right, accelerate the construction of social justice, we have a long way to go.
I think on China’s social development strategy in the conclusion to say a few words on the level of efficiency and equity.
There is a famous thesis that efficiency issues should be directed to the market, competition and market regulation by the market to solve and fairness is what Government should things, fairness cannot be solved by the market itself, must be regulated by Government actions and interventions. In other words, the main responsibility of this view believe that the Government is addressing social justice issues. This view has some truth, but it should mainly problems of efficiency and fairness in the process of modernization in the West.
I think the problem is much more complex Chinese, China’s modernization process to a simple form in this view. Because China is a State of backwardness, largely dependent on the Government to promote the process of modernization, and this promotion is implemented in the system, power from waves to a large extent in the development of the energy released by the economic reform from top to bottom. Without a central Government and government reform from top to bottom to promote at all levels, it is difficult to imagine that China can achieve such impressive development success today. Now the goal is not achieved in China’s modernization, we have in front of the trend of globalization still urgent and arduous task of economic development, therefore impossible regardless of the efficiency of the Chinese Government, impossible to fundamentally change centered on the economic development strategy. Second, in the economic development of efficient content also includes many modern social equity. Efficiency and cannot be separated from the fair diametrically, advocating people through honest labor and hard work to get more rewards, allowing people through investment and management for risk and return, the protection ability capable contributors to achieve the appropriate return, was fair. Implement the principle of giving priority to efficiency in the allocation in line with productivity development level at this stage. Establish independent participation, equal competition, lawful business (opportunity fair, fair rules) on the basis of most of the results are not equal, is still a (scale) fair. Should see the 27 years of civil energy released by the reform of distribution system, speed of development in the new period in China has to a large extent this “fair contribution, today even a considerable number of Chinese public are independent wealth along that direction. So you cannot say in focus on the efficiency of the Chinese Government time to abandon social equity, which are also trying to build a moderately fair, only a few things to do well enough, certain things have little to do.
Today many of the problems is up gradually later in relief of economic development, demand of social justice in China now is very different than at the beginning of reform and opening up, this change has been our progress. Now community discussion and reflection on all the shortcomings and the lack of social justice in China, it is a good thing. We should according to the primary stage of socialism in China’s national conditions, to in-depth reflection on the concept of development and government responsibilities, avoid one-way thinking, correctly answer a series of difficult issues. Significant differentiation in society today, seriously “, stressing social fairness” policy adjustments. Also, based on long-term considerations, the social justice as a focus of building a socialist country.
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