China history shows its efforts to become wealthy and powerful since the nineteenth century. However, it has not been successful in its efforts. Although the country tried to initiate different development programs, in the nineteenth century, it was not able to achieve the level of wealth and power it hoped for during the time. The country was still bound by Confucian principles, which did not propel it in the right direction as far as civilization and development were concerned. The people and the leaders still held to the traditional way of thinking and this hindered development. In addition, lack of interaction with the west and the belief that the country was the center of civilization hindered any chances that the country had to gain wealth and power. The country was not in a position to trade fairly with the west as it depended on the traditional way of thinking. It remained isolated and they did not want to extend their interactions with the west. This denied China the opportunity to learn from other countries. In addition, foreign imperialism held the country back as it was draining its economy. The country’s leadership during the nineteenth century could not decide on whether to modernize and adopt western ways. It did not know up to which level it was willing to accept western influences and abandon tradition. This delayed reforms and it affected the country’s development. The country’s situation changed in the twentieth century (Rawsi).
China made reforms beginning in 1970s and this led to a change in the way the country operated. The reforms did not lead to immediate changes in the way the country operated. They were gradual but they led to changes that propelled the country to great development and progress. The reforms affected both the rural and the urban areas. Farmers in the rural areas realized growth and they began to develop economically, as they pursued household cultivation. Production increased and this raised the farmers’ income considerably (Rawsi). In addition, it increased trade as the country managed to export some of its agricultural products. The reforms affected the economy, as China opened up to other countries. This enabled it to expand its markets and increase its level of trade and investment. The reforms led to changes in leadership and this transformed operations in many different sectors. Previously, the country was bureaucratic and it had a rigid system. The state controlled everything and people were limited in their economic pursuits. This lack of flexibility and the hold of the ruling class did not encourage capitalism or competition between the industries and this stifled the economy.
The reforms led to changes in the country’s leadership. Although the state controlled many sectors of the economy, it became more flexible and decentralized. Local and provincial leaders had authority and control. This means that not all decisions passed through the central government and people began participating in decision making and planning. The provincial leaders had independence in the way they chose to promote exports under the open door policy. The government began involving different individuals and stakeholders such as businesses and workers in making decisions. The government maintained control of many of its industries but it gave people an opportunity to participate and own property by enabling them to buy shares. The reforms encouraged competition among different sectors. Businesses began lowering their prices and improving the quality of their products in an attempt to make more business. This led to financial pressures, which in turn led to innovation. Trading companies were responsible for their own profits and loss. They were established in conjunction with the industrial enterprises and they were meant to manufacture products for exports (Chow 131).
The reforms led to changes in policy, which improved the market conditions. The changes made in policy, increased entry of foreign goods and it improved trade incentives. In addition, it lessened price controls and it encouraged flexibility in pricing. China was forced to improve its economy after seeing the other neighboring countries prosper. Other countries had adopted a market-oriented economy and China was forced down the same path (Chow 128). The economic reforms changed china’s perception of the western countries. It became more willing to trade with other countries. It encouraged investment by providing a suitable environment for industries to set up. International companies could decide to set up offices and factories independently or they could operate jointly with Chinese companies. It provided cheap labor and this encouraged many countries to set up multinational industries in the country. Moreover, other countries were encouraged by the country’s high population. The population provided a ready market for the finished product and enough labor to work in the industries.
China recognized that it had to make important changes during the nineteenth century. It realized that it was no longer the center of the universe. Western countries had passed it economically during the industrialization period. However, the country’s leadership and lack of modern though prevented its progress. The people were caught in between holding and keeping their traditions and belief systems and adapting to the western ways of thinking. This prevented china from becoming wealthy and powerful. Reforms began in the twentieth century, and they became more effective in the late 1970s. The countries made great economic reforms that transformed both the urban and rural economy. It implemented an open door policy, which encouraged trade and investment with other countries. This encouraged multinational companies to set up in China, increased exports and encouraged imports. The economic reforms have been gradual, and they have managed to help China succeed in its efforts of becoming a wealthy and powerful nation.
Chow, Gregory C. “Economic Reform and Growth in China.” Annals of Economics and Finance 5 (2004): 127-152
Rawsi, Thomas G. “The Rise of China’s Economy.” Foreign Policy Research Institute. June 2011. Web. 28 April 2014.