Sinicization of Marxist poverty theory makes progress

BY ZHANG WEI | 11-07-2017
Chinese Social Sciences Today



The Marxist view on poverty provides a scientific explanation of the phenomena and its essence as well as the means to address it. In the course of China’s attempts to tackle poverty, all previous leadership made innovations and constantly advanced the Sinicization of Marxist anti-poverty theory. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, based on the analysis of China’s own situation, President Xi Jinping proposed the concept of targeted poverty alleviation, making new contributions to the Sinicization of  Marxist anti-poverty theory.


The concept of targeted poverty alleviation enriched and developed the basic connotation of the Sinicization of Marxist view on poverty. China’s great achievements in poverty reduction have demonstrated the superiority of the socialist system. The UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 found that the proportion of population living in extreme poverty in China dropped from 61 percent in 1990 to below 30 percent in 2002.


And in 2014, the proportion declined to 4.2 percent, contributing more than 70 percent to the global fight against poverty. China became the country that lifted the most people from poverty as well as the first to accomplish its millennium goal. China’s contribution to global poverty reduction was widely praised by the international community.


The concept also represented an innovation in the Sinicization of Marxist anti-poverty theory. From 2013 to 2016, China raised a total of 55.64 million rural poor people— an average of more than 10 million annually— from poverty. However, with the transformation of economic structure and technological structure, the positive role of economic growth on poverty alleviation is weakening, and China still has a large, deeply impoverished population that is widely distributed geographically.


The country’s poverty-elimination work formerly focused on providing adequate food and clothing, and now it aims to consolidate outcomes achieved and to enhance development capacity, accelerate the poverty-alleviation process and narrow the development gap.


Under this circumstance, helping the people of all regions to shake off poverty was the biggest challenge for the government during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). Chinese President Xi Jinping, after attempting to grasp the big picture of the country’s poverty situation and studying the issue in depth, initiated the strategy of targeted poverty alleviation. 


The strategy is the requirement of both China’s economic and social development and solving the country’s poverty problem in the new era. First of all, it can accelerate the pace of poverty elimination work, because it implements targeted assistance measures and preferential policies to increase people’s self-development ability and their incomes, ultimately promoting the entire enterprise of poverty reduction.


Also, it can expand the methods and means for realizing poverty elimination. It concentrates resources to provide most direct and effective assistance to needy people and regions based on an analysis of the causes of their poverty.


In conclusion, the strategy can enhance the efficiency of poverty-elimination work. Now, China’s poverty-elimination work has reached an accelerated period, and it is time to resolutely face the hardest tasks. When the extensive mode of poverty alleviation was implemented, it was hard to ascertain the actual number of people living in poverty, and the measures and policies were not targeted, hence the results were not satisfactory. Therefore, impoverished people could not really share the fruits of economic development. The strategy of targeted poverty alleviation realizes targeted recognition, assistance, management and appraisal, radically improving the efficiency of poverty-elimination work.


Zhang Wei is a research fellow from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing.