By Michael D. Bordo, Barry Eichengreen
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Additional info for A Retrospective on the Bretton Woods system
China’s GDP was less than half that of Japan, but its oil consumption far surpassed Japan’s in 2004 and 2005. 14). 90 Source: Statistics of OECD and IEA 2009. 90 tons of standard oil to generate US$1,000 of GDP (given constant prices in 2000) was lower only than Russia’s. Japan, as the most energy-efﬁcient country, consumed just one-ninth of China’s ﬁgure. The Chinese government has long recognized that there is enormous room for improvement in its energy efﬁciency. In June 2005, for example, Premier Wen Jiabao presided over a national conference on the subject of building a conservation-minded society.
These data show that China employs a large number of R&D personnel, but that it has yet to catch up with other countries to become a power in science and technology. Differences in Income Distribution A fair income distribution is of great help in improving people’s material living conditions, and unequal distribution usually leads to conﬂict. The inequality of income distribution in China has become more marked in recent years, with the Gini coefﬁcient close to, or even higher than, than in some developed countries.
More recently, at the annual economic meeting in December 2009, the central government gave further recognition to the problems outlined above and will take more concrete measures to tackle these issues in 2010 and beyond. We look forward to seeing improved economic performance with higher efﬁciency in the coming years. DEVELOPMENT FORECASTS The problems described above that can affect or hinder the sustainability of China’s economic development can be summarized as follows: & & & & & & controlling foreign exchange capital inﬂows to gradually improve the CNY exchange rate formation mechanism constraining the growth of the foreign exchange reserves and improving the utilization of foreign currency assets improving the utilization of energy, water, and other raw materials enhancing the capability of independent innovation increasing the income of farmers and other low-income earners to reduce income disparities improving the social security, medical, and education systems to stimulate consumption.