Thursday, November 2, 2017


What Western liberals assume is that the natural state of human being is defined by liberalism. That is an unsubstantiated assumption. Liberalism developed in the UK and was exported to the US and later to Western Europe. It is a cultural phenomenon that is historically and geographically based.

The Western view at present is that China under Xi Jinping has de-emphasized Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' focus on class struggle, while emphasizing Lenin's focus on the party as revolutionary vanguard needed to enforce the dictatorship of the proletariat until the socialist revolution is established and functioning without the need for support.

But those who have been listening closely to Xi Jinping realize is that President Xi is rehabilitating Confucius as a Chinese sage if not the premier Chinese sage. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is necessarily Confucian in order to remain true to China's traditions.

What is actually happening in China is a modern adaptation of the traditional Mandarin system of governance based on Confucianism, which is essentially an ethical system embodying traditional Chinese values. The basis of the Confucian system of values is balance, harmony, and benevolence.

The Mandarin system of governance is based on the selection of the best and brightest to join the elite and compete for advancement by demonstration of competence in management. 

This is a highly efficient system as shown by its success in the West both the military and corporate worlds but not the political. In the military and corporate worlds, the West focuses on selecting and promoting based on competence, while political success is based on winning elections. The ability to win elections has little or nothing to do with demonstrating competence in the type of management required for good governance based on qualification.

The West is right to be concerned about China as a competitor on the world stage, but so far no one seems to know why, actually. Based on Western analysis, China should be failing rather than rising, but Western analysts still haven't realized that they need to shift their assumptions to take reality into closer consideration than ideology.

Even the usually astute Martin Fox and Brad DeLong don't seem to realize what is actually happening.

What is actually happening in the historical dialectic is a struggle between capitalism and socialism. The socialist pole is chiefly represented by the Chinese approach to it that is based on integrating traditional Chinese principles with Marxism-Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions. The capitalist pole is chiefly represented by Western transnational corporatism based on economic liberalism as the universal and exclusive model for unipolar globalization.

This dialectical conflict will likely occupy much of the rest of the 21st century.

Grasping Reality
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley

1 comment:

MRW said...

China (nor Russia) is not interested in Marxism-Leninism. Besides Marxism-Leninism is what? 150 years old? Not old enough to give any value. Equating Chinese socialism with either one fails to understand deep Chinese historical thinking (in my view). It certainly isn't why China succeeded for tens of centuries.

China was the world's leading economy throughout the Middle Ages until Britain figured out how to use the East India Import Export Co. starting in the late 1700s to destroy it—and China’s "Middle Kingdom"—with opium and western tactics that China didn’t clamp down on until 1949.

The Chinese think exactly the opposite from the way we do, and we can’t get it through our heads because we are not interested in understanding the real meaning of the I Ching, and it’s importance to achieve harmony for governance and success for its citizenry. We think it’s like astrology or Tarot Cards. In China, it is more important to create harmony than it is to be right.