SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP THE ECONOMY
December 24, 1990
We must understand theoretically that the difference between capitalism and socialism is not a market economy as opposed to a planned economy. Socialism has regulation by market forces, and capitalism has control through planning. Do you think capitalism has absolute freedom without any control? The most-favoured-nation status is also a form of control. You must not think that if we have some market economy we shall be taking the capitalist road. That's simply not true. Both a planned economy and a market economy are necessary. If we did not have a market economy, we would have no access to information from other countries and would have to reconcile ourselves to lagging behind.
Don't be afraid of taking a few risks. By now we have developed the ability to take risks. Why were we able to control inflation so quickly without having much effect on the market and the currency? Because we have been carrying out the reform and opening for eleven or twelve years. As we go further with the reform and open wider to the outside world, we shall be better able to cope with problems if they arise. Don't be afraid of risks: we can't do anything without taking some risks.
It is a big problem to find ways for the coastal areas to assist the inland areas. We can have one coastal province help one or two inland provinces. Nevertheless, we should not lay too heavy a burden on the coastal areas all at once. During the initial period they can just transfer certain technologies to the interior. Since the very beginning of the reform we have been emphasizing the need for seeking common prosperity; that will surely be the central issue some day. Socialism does not mean allowing a few people to grow rich while the overwhelming majority live in poverty. No, that's not socialism. The greatest superiority of socialism is that it enables all the people to prosper, and common prosperity is the essence of socialism. If polarization occurred, things would be different. The contradictions between various ethnic groups, regions and classes would become sharper and, accordingly, the contradictions between the central and local authorities would also be intensified. That would lead to disturbances.