Marxist green development concept and green development in the contemporary China: comment on incompatibility theory between environment and development

HUANG Maoxing1,2,3 YE Qi1,2,3

(1.School of Economics, Fujian Normal University)
(2.China (Fujian) Institute of Ecological Civilization Construction)
(3.Branch of Fujian Normal University of National Economic Comprehensive Competitiveness Research Center 350007)
【Knowledge Link】green development; Marxism

【Abstract】China has stepped to the front of the world economy after more than 30 years of rapid development. The long extensive growth mode has not only over drafted many valuable resources and resulted in huge environmental cost but caused huge pressure on sustainable economic development. Economic transformation, as a real pressing issue faced by China, should take into consideration both economic and environmental interests, coordinate current and long-term interests, and promote the harmonious development of mankind and the nature. How to transform and which direction to take are major theoretical and practical questions that must be answered urgently. However, some Western countries, known collectively as the “Green Guards,” have put forward the so-called “China ecosystem threat” theory. Putting forward the so-called “collapse of China” theory, some of them also claimed that China is incapable of addressing the relationship between economic development and ecosystem. In addition, a new liberal ideology has penetrated into our socialist ideology. All of them have great impacts on the confidence in China’s economic development. The Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China brought the important green development concept forward. Green development is a highly condensed form of regular understanding about the relationship between man and nature as well as a major theoretical innovation in the human exploration of sustainable development. It is not only a powerful response to those who doubt China, but also a clear answer to questions about the direction and method of China’s economic transformation. Green development inherits and innovates in Marx’s green development concept. With the development of environmental protection theories in both the West and East as background, this paper sorts out the main viewpoints of the formation, development, and deepening stages of Marx’s green development concept and suggests Marx’s green development view as actually an inheritance and development of Eastern and Western ecosystem theories. As an outlook opposed to the capitalist development concept, it provides the scientific basis for the green transformation of the world. The green development concept is the outcome of Marxist localization in China. It is the right decision for facing the current developmental challenges in China and a new extension of the national governance concept enriching the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The innovative ideas are as follows: (1) emphasis on consciousness: building national consensus through ecological civilization; (2) emphasis on system propulsion: implementing the strategy by top-level design; (3) emphasis on total control: promoting structural upgrading by deepening reform; (4) emphasis on technological support: building momentum by innovative drive; and (5) emphasis on opening and cooperation: safeguarding ecological security by global action. Green development is a long-term and arduous task. We can break through China’s green development ceiling by establishing its status in China’s economic development, accelerating the factor of commitment protection, strengthening institutional and legal constraints, driving the optimal allocation of resources, and demonstrating China’s role in the development of global environmental protection and green transformation by global vision. This paper grasps the innovative kernel of green development and discusses the theoretical innovation of Marx’s green development concept. Then it builds a theory of China’s green development combined with its environmental protection status and reveals related key issues. We not only refutes the international doubts about China’s green development but strengthens China’s confidence in promoting economic development and environmental protection.

【Keywords】 Marxism; green development concept; man and nature; harmonious coexistence;

【Funds】 Youth Project of National Social Science Fund of China (14CKS013)

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This Article


CN: 11-1081/F

Vol 52, No. 06, Pages 17-30

June 2017


Article Outline



  • 1 Green development is a major theoretical innovation in human exploration for sustainable development
  • 2 Marxist green development concept is an important source of thoughts for contemporary green development at home and abroad
  • 3 Green development advocated by China is the application and innovation of Marxist green development concept in contemporary China
  • 4 Key issue and path choice needed to accelerate China’s green development
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