China Must End Its GDP Worship

There are at least three major challenges China will never be able to address if leaders feel obliged to keep growth above a specified level: local government finances, pollution and the shadow-banking system.
China's misplaced focus on growth will prevent it from successfully tackling its pollution problem. Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Next week, world leaders, corporate executives and hedge-fund managers will return to a collective obsession: China's growth target for the year ahead. The eyes of the world will be on Premier Li Keqiang to see if he again sets the number above 7 percent, a kind of comfort zone for officials from Singapore to Sao Paulo.

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