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Society and Economy
Authors: Prespa Ymeri, Arben Musliu, Jehona Shkodra, Iliriana Miftari and Csaba Fogarassy

Abstract

Kosovo is one of the poorest countries in Europe, despite the various poverty alleviation programs implemented by the authorities and the international funding community. This study aims to analyze income distribution inequality and factors behind rural households' poverty in Kosovo. Data on farm income, nonfarm income, unearned income, and socio-economic characteristics were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire from 203 randomly selected households in Kosovo. Linear regression, one-way ANOVA, and different versions of poverty indexes were used to examine the data. One-quarter of households' income comes from nonfarm activities. The middle-income households had the highest potential to find alternative employment in the nonfarm sector. Years of education, household size, number of family members above the age of 18, and total income had a positive impact on nonfarm revenues. The poorest rural households had the highest share of income from farm activities (77.52%). Nonfarm revenues have a positive impact on poverty alleviation; thus, the study suggests adopting suitable rural policies to enhance nonfarm employment for vulnerable rural households. The agro-tourism sector and circular economy approaches in agriculture with the focus on renewable energy can be considered as potential sources of nonfarm income, which could lead to sustainable poverty reduction.

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The hegemony of the Western higher education institutions in the global university market is being challenged by China. The top Chinese universities have significantly improved their international ranking positions. When it comes, however, to the ability of universities to attract foreign students and faculty, the Chinese higher education institutions' performance raises questions. The International Outlook scores of these universities, although showing an increasing trend, are still lacking behind the U.S. or Western European top universities. China is primarily a student ‘exporter.’ It also became a leading destination country for students from Asia or Africa, but it is still far from reaching the ‘international openness’ level of the U.S. or the UK universities. The publication networks of the top Chinese higher education institutions indicate that these universities prefer to publish with other Chinese institutions or the U.S. universities.

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This essay joins in the international controversy about the nature and sustainability of the economic system in China. While official ideology continues to stick to the concept of ‘socialist market economy,’ albeit with changing contents, international observers are split. One group considers China as a de facto market economy, which is in line with the top-down tradition of ruling in the region. Others consider it as a sui generis system. And a third line takes it as yet another case of hybrid regime which proliferated globally in the new millennium. I try to create a link between these readings and the empirics of Chinese growth. This may help interpret the slowdown, exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemics on Chinese output.

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Abstract

The paper examines the importance of the ‘Chinese factor’ in today's world from the perspective of current phenomena such as particular political and economic uncertainty and also examines them against the background of processes of global cooperation and parallel unprecedented competition at the same level. Complex phenomena occurring in this area have recently been additionally disrupted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Will the world be different?

Globalization processes have taken place over the centuries but have gained particular importance in our present times, because we left ‘the golden age’ of globalization (1990–2010) already behind us. China, ever louder, talks about the need for a ‘new’ globalization, in line with its new aspirations as a pretender to the leadership position in the global economy. The Belt and Road Initiative, launched in 2013, has been in the centre of its vision. It has become the foundation for China's foreign policy in the horizon of at least the middle of XXI century. It was designed to re-confirm China's unprecedented economic success of the past four decades, which to a great extent could be derived from a skilful use of the ‘traditional’ mechanisms of globalization.

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After the collapse of the Berlin Wall it was conceivable that China would follow the path towards the cessation of communism, as it happened in the successor states of the USSR, Yugoslavia and the East European satellite states of the Soviet Union. But the Communist Party of China (CPC) managed to retain control and avoided the Russian and East European collapse, a full-fledged transition to capitalism and liberal democracy. For a while, China was on its way to market capitalism with the possible outcome to turn eventually into a liberal democracy. This was a rocky road, with backs-and-forth. But the shift to liberal democracy did not happen. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, approved by Deng Xiaoping, was a more alarming setback than the contemporary Western observers were willing to realize. This paper presents an interpretation of the changes under present Chinese leader, Xi Jinping in a post-communist comparative perspective.

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Abstract

Why did China grow so fast in the past four decades? What were the main factors? Important ones were: attitude of government; opening to the world; role of culture; exploitation of technological gap; role of foreign trained students; and role of government in the creation of modern infrastructure. These factors are likely to play a much smaller role in the future while several negative factors –populism, trade wars, environmental obstacles, aging of the population, authoritarianism and others are likely to lead to significantly lower growth rates.

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The recent successes of the Chinese modernisation strategy are substantiated by an array of indicators showing an impressive improvement. Irrespective of China's current growth deceleration, these indicators suggest a highly effective implementation of an ambitious roadmap that can ultimately help China to catch up and achieve a global technological leadership. Still, some scholars point to deep structural deficiencies, and maintain that these indicators – however impressive they are – merely scratch the surface, while much deeper change is required in order to maintain economic growth. Therefore, the purpose of this paper (finalized before the ongoing COVID-19 crisis) is to contribute to this burgeoning literature – documenting the outcome and analysing the implications of China's efforts to embrace a new growth model – and analyse the chances of the Chinese digital great leap forward, that is the radical transformation of its prior modernisation trajectory. Drawing on a systematic review of the literature, the author maps, presents and analyses existing indicators quantifying China's progress in shifting to this new development trajectory, identifying also the gaps in the conventional measurement approaches. According to the findings of this paper, there are several easy-to-measure indicators, often used in international comparisons, that indeed confirm the optimistic scenario of China's development prospects in the near future. On the other hand, some hard-to-quantify factors, such as the localization of knowledge and the spreading of innovation, need to be also considered. These latter show a closer association with countries' development level as well as development potential. With regards to these latter particularities, China still has a long way to go.

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Abstract

In the era of irreversible globalisation, the worldwide economic and political rules of play must take into account of the growing importance of China. Rather than fight the country, one should pragmatically cooperate on solving the mounting global problems. Contemporarily, both China should adapt to the external world and the world itself should adapt to China. There is no possibility of imposing on it a model developed elsewhere, especially that these days liberal democracy is experiencing a systemic crisis in many countries. Neither is there a chance to impose the Chinese model on others, though it seems tempting to a country; it is not an exportable ‘commodity,’ but its elements may prove useful elsewhere. China is not aiming for global domination; instead, it is consistently integrating with the world to maintain its own development. The only reasonable way forward is thorough observation, mutual learning and pragmatic collaboration based on the non-orthodox economic thought.

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