Nobel laureate: China should boost social security

08:55, January 15, 2010      

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China should spend more of its GDP on the country's social security and health care system, Daniel L. McFadden, the 2000 Nobel laureate in economics, said at a roundtable in Beijing hosted by the Web portal Netease Thursday.

"Since 1979, China's social security has actually become weaker," McFadden said, adding that national programs should be launched to provide social security and health coverage for Chinese citizens.

As of now, average Chinese receive social security mostly through their employers or family members, and urban residents usually enjoy better social insurance than those living in rural areas, though about 56 percent of the country's population lives in the countryside, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The country invested about 5.2 percent of its GDP, or 10.9 percent of public finance expenditure, in social security in 2008, according to the NBS.

That contrasted with the fact that more than 50 percent of government budgets are commonly spent on social security in developed countries.

"Now is not yet the time to speak of the risk of enhancing social welfare in China," Qin Hui, a professor with Tsinghua University, said at another roundtable Thursday. "Our social security network is too weak right now."

Qin said the promotion of social security will expand domestic demand, essential for China's economic recovery.

China should double its investment into the health care system and the number of doctors in the country should grow 20-30 percent every year over the next 20 years, as China is way behind Japan, Canada and European countries in terms of medical system quality, McFadden said.

China has about 20 percent of the world's population, but only 2 percent of the world's medical resources, according to a December report by the China Youth Daily newspaper.

Source: Global Times
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