Structural analysis of the contradiction of unbalanced and uncoordinated economic and social development

Theoretically speaking, imbalance and lack of coordination between economic and social development are also imbalance and lack of coordination between economic and social structures. Economic and social structures are the two most fundamental structures of a country' or region. They are integral to each other, support each other, and serve as each other’s foundation. In general, changes and adjustment of economic structure come first, which will drive and affect changes in social structure. The adjustment of social structure will in turn lead to improvement and continuous change in economic structure. Thus, economic and social structures must be coordinated and complement each other. Economic structure cannot develop alone. Social structure can lag slightly behind economic structure. This lag has a reasonable limit. Beyond the limit, it will hinder sustained and orderly change in the economic structure. At the present stage, under the impetus of the reform of the economic system and sustained and rapid economic growth, China’s economic structure has reached the intermediate level of industrialized societies. Its social structure lags seriously behind the economic structure.

Profound changes have already taken place in China’s social structure

Just as is economic structure, social structure is composed of several substructures, which mainly include population structure, family structure, employment structure, urban-rural structure, regional structure, and organizational structure, as well as the structure of social strata. Since the reform and opening up, under the impetus of the reform of the economic system, rapid economic development, and changes in the economic structure, profound changes have also taken place in the social structure. Take the employment structure, for example. In 1978, the employment status of the labor force in the three industries was 70.5% in the primary industry, 17.3% in the secondary industry, and 12.2% in the tertiary industry and in 2008, it had changed to 39.6%, 27.2%, and 33.2%, respectively. In 1978, the number of employees in the secondary and tertiary industries was only 118.35 million. In 2008, the number had increased to 468.26 million, an increase of 349.91 million in 30 years and an average increase of 11.66 million per year. Thelabor force in non-agricultural industries already accounted for 50.1% in 1997, exceeding the threshold of 50%, which is the employment structure of industrialized countries. We can take the urban-rural structure as another example. In 1978, China’s urbanization rate was 17.9%. In 2008, it had reached 45.7%, an average annual increase of 0.91 percentage points. In 1978, China’s urban population was 172.45 million. In 2008, it had increased to 606.67 million, a rise of434 million in 30 years with an average annual increase of 14.47 million. As a further example, the structure of social strata changed from “two classes and one stratum” to one comprising 10 strata including state and social management personnel, managers, private business owners, science and technology professionals, clerical personnel, individual industrial and commercial households, people in commerce and service sectors, industrial workers, agricultural laborers, and unemployed and semi-unemployed people.

Such a great change in the social structure is unprecedented in Chinese history. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, Li Hongzhang, Liang Qichao, and others exclaimed that China is undergoing “a great transformation that has not been seen in thousands of years,” but they merely saw the beginning of it. It is only thr ough the reform and opening up that this transformation has been actualized in China. China has been an agricultural country with a social structure of an agricultural society ever since the Zhou and Qin Dynasties. Until 1978, fanners still accounted for 82.1% of the population, which can only be said to be the social structure of an agricultural country. It is in the past 30 years that this great transformation, the transfonnation of the social structure into one of industrialized countries, has really taken place. However, when we carried out the reform of the economic system and large-scale adjustment of the economic structure and when the economy greatly developed, we did not cany out social constnrction and reform the social system in a timely manner. As a result, compared to the changes in the economic structure, China’s social structure has fallen behind.

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