After eradicating extreme poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China”s next goal is to realize common prosperity.
What is that going to be like? Perhaps people will do some work, or no work at all. They can go skiing in the winter and to the beach in the summer. Isn’t that a pleasant thought? In fact, some think such happy days are round the corner.
That’s because different people have different understandings of common prosperity. Some actually believe a prosperous society is one in which the government does everything, and takes care of people from the cradle to grave.
However, common prosperity does not mean a welfare state, and the country needs to avoid such a trap.
That is why the authorities have made it clear that common prosperity does not mean building an egalitarian or a welfare state.
The notion of welfare is very appealing. Ordinary people believe it means benefits and social security.
Some welfare states do help improve ordinary people’s lives by reducing the wealth gap and easing social conflicts.
However, a welfare society also gives rise to some very undesirable side effects.
Dependence on welfare makes people lazy and unwilling to work, which takes a toll on their initiatives and creativity. Large-scale and continuous welfare spending increases the tax burden on enterprises and individuals.
As people become dependent on welfare, any time the government withdraws some of the welfare measures, it could lead to social unrest.
Also, if the government borrows money to maintain an otherwise unsustainable level of welfare, it may lead to a debt crisis, even bankruptcy.
In China, some people are demanding welfare policies, even a welfare state. Therefore, while promoting common prosperity, it is necessary to make clear that there is a fundamental difference between common prosperity and welfarism.
China is a socialist country under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. And the Party is promoting common prosperity so that all the people, through their hard work and creativity, can gain a better sense of well-being, be more self-confident and self-reliant, and help build a stable and harmonious society.
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