Comments on Andrew M. Fischer "Tibet’s economic growth an accounting illusion?" 9/07/2015
After reading this article, I was wondering why the author did not present an alternative scenario where the current/recent model of economic growth were changed to a no state subsidies and no state-driven investment model and what effects that would have on the economic growth in Tibet?
It is easy to criticise some actions and policies of the government, but are the subsidies good or bad for Tibet and Tibetans?
And the title is consistently misleading as its content, I am afraid. As a matter of fact, I am very much bemused by this article.
I have the experience in being involved in horizontal fiscal equalisation in Australia and understand the subsidies to some states or territories can be very high.
For example, the distribution of the GST revenue to the states and territories is based on the per capita relativities recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Each state or territory has a per capita relativity, with the population weighted average as 1. Some states or territories have a per capita relativity greater than one and others smaller than one.
A per capita relativity of one means you get your population share of the GST revenue being distributed. A state gets a share of the GST revenue that is equal to its population share multiplied by its per capita relativity. As a result, the states with a relativity greater than one get more than its population share of the GST revenue, and vice versa.
A particular feature of the per capita relativities recommended by the Commission is that the Northern Territory's can be as large as 5. In another word, the Northern Territory may get 5 times of its population share of the national GST revenue. Put it slightly differently, the Northern Territory is subsidised by 4 times of its population share of the national GST revenue.
One may ask why it is the case with the Northern Territory receiving so much subsides through the GST distribution process. The main reasons include the following facts:
NT is the smallest state in terms of population (diseconomy of scale), about 1% of Australian total population.
The share of Indigenous population in NT is about 30%, as compared to a national average of about or less than 2% of Indigenous population. It is costly to provide government services to Indigenous population.
It has large land and it has the highest population dispersion, particularly among its Indigenous population, further increasing the costs of government services.
Further, it is remote territory, far away from the major economic and population centres in Eastern Australia.
The Northern Territory, whether it is the government or people there, do not complain their per capita relativity is high. Rather the opposite, they argue it should have even a greater per capita relativity.
It is interesting to see the author of the article is criticising the high subsidies for Tibet from the Central Government!
PS: The extremely high subsidies to Tibet by the Central Government should be a testimony that the Tibetans have not been treated discriminatively (in the negative sense) Chinese Government. To the contrary, minorities in China have enjoyed preferential policies much better than their Han counterpart from the Chinese Government.
The figures from this article should remind people of that. Another major social policy, that is, family planning policy, also have been positively applied to most minorities, while absolute majority or most if not all of the Hans have restricted to the "one couple one child" policy.
Further, politically, most minority ethnic groups have disproportionately greater representation in terms of "people's representatives" than the dominant Hans.
Those who argue that minority ethnic groups in China are poorly treated should have a proper and appropriate perspective and get all major facts right.
Yes, China's authoritarian government system has many undesirable aspects, but they are not discriminative (negatively) towards ethnic minority groups. It is the Hans, the dominant ethnic group in China who are treated worse by the Chinese Government.