March 13, 2012
Why China Wants an Economic Slowdown
Damien Ma, The Atlantic
As China's annual National People's Congress draws to a close, its most substantive portions came from Wen Jiabao's work report, a sort of Chinese version of the "state of the union." It set the tenor for economic objectives in 2012 -- Wen's final year in office -- including a call for slower growth. Wen set a target of 7.5% GDP growth. That would be the first time annual GDP growth dropped below 8% in years. Still, China has tended to overshoot its GDP targets, so the target-setting exercise does not necessarily reflect underlying economic performance. Instead, the target serves as a political signal to remind each level of government that the days of GDP-worship need to end, and that they will have to make way for the long-delayed restructuring.