L’évolution du système économique chinois

Il est généralement admis que la Chine doit son impressionnante réussite économique des trois dernières décennies aux réformes radicales de son système économique. Si les sociétés privées existaient à peine au début de ces réformes, elles représentent aujourd'hui 60 % de la production globale.

Cependant, il ne s’agit là que d’ une seule dimension du système économique. Celui de la Chine a changé de façon radicale dans d'autres domaines. Les prises de décisions en matière de consommation et de production ont été décentralisées respectivement vers les particuliers et les entreprises privées ; les mesures d’incitation économique, les marchés, la concurrence, et l'internationalisation ont dans une large mesure remplacé l’économie planifiée, les processus administratifs, les monopoles et l'autocratie. D'une manière générale, cette période de réforme de la Chine est une illustration contemporaine éloquente de la leçon historique voulant que le déferlement d’initiatives individuelles donne un coup de fouet au développement économique.

Mais alors, comment définir l'économie chinoise d'aujourd'hui ? Pour certains observateurs, il s’agit d’un « capitalisme d'État », pour d'autres (dont les dirigeants chinois) d’un « socialisme de marché ». Ces deux étiquettes sont trompeuses, d'une part, en raison de la domination des entreprises privées du côté de la production, d'autre part, parce que le « socialisme » ne repose pas d'ordinaire sur des mesures d'incitation fermes, ni sur une forte concurrence économique – les deux facteurs économiques qui prévalent dans la Chine actuelle.

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