China Leadership Monitor

The Turning Point: First Steps toward a Post-Crisis Economy

Monday, February 15, 2010

From the beginning, two questions have been asked about China’s stimulus program: Would it work? And given that many measures taken would have harmful long-run effects, would it be worth it? The first of these arguments is now over: The stimulus program worked, and reasonably broad-based growth is now apparent. A modest but unambiguous shift in macroeconomic policy has occurred in January 2010. However, with the return of growth, policy-makers now face a new set of problems that directly and indirectly reveal some of the costs and long-run harmful effects of the stimulus. This is already evident in the complex struggle to control bank lending in January 2010. Efforts to address potential problems are hobbled by a political leadership class that appears to be satisfied with the current situation and unwilling to tackle difficult problems.