“Common prosperity”, Xi Jinping’s response to populism

Chronic. Xi Jinping’s new mantra since this summer, “common prosperity” was quickly seen, especially in the United States, as further proof of Beijing’s “Maoist turn”. However, the publication on October 15 of the entire speech in which the Chinese president announced this policy sheds a significantly different light. Less red.

Xi Jinping draws up a double observation. First : “Income inequality is a major concern around the world. (…) The polarization between rich and poor and the collapse of the middle class have led to social disintegration, political polarization, and rampant populism. (…) Our country must resolutely protect itself against such polarization ”. However, China is already affected: “This problem of unbalanced and inadequate development remains a major problem in China with large gaps both in terms of regional development and income distribution”, Xi recognizes.

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Second: “The technological revolution and industrial transformation give new impetus to economic development, but it also has profound effects on employment and income distribution, including negative effects. These must be studied and remedied. “ According to him, social protection cannot do everything. “Developed countries have industrialized for centuries but, because of their social systems, they have not solved the problem of common prosperity and, indeed, the gap between rich and poor is getting worse. “ Interesting clarification: Xi is wary of overly generous social protection. “The government cannot take care of everything (…). We must resolutely avoid falling into the trap of the welfare state which maintains lazy people. “

“Encourage hard work”

Following more closely than one could imagine the debates on social networks, Xi Jinping even uses two terms in vogue among young people and Chinese sociologists, two “Phenomena to avoid”, he specifies: « l’involution » [être tourné sur soi-même] and « le “lying flat” » [glander, n’avoir aucune ambition].

Far from wanting to prevent the Chinese from getting richer, Xi Jinping, on the contrary, wants this possibility to be offered to everyone. Hence its first principle: “Foster hard work and innovation as ways of enrichment”. “To increase the human capital of society as a whole as well as professional knowledge, increase the capacity of people to find a job, start a business and strengthen their ability to enrich themselves. “ Guizot rather than Mao. Simply, “Those who get rich first will have to help those who are not yet”.

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“Common prosperity”, Xi Jinping’s response to populism