The strongest argument for the adoption of any governmental system is success and the potential for greater success in the future. This is what the history changing Chinese reformer Deng Xiaoping meant when he stated, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”. Deng’s adoption of Market Socialism With Chinese Characteristics looked to bring the values of his predecessors into the future by creating an industrial revolution in a primarily agrarian economy which during Deng’s initial period in power had a poverty rate of 88%.
Today, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics For a New Era looks to reduce an almost all rural poverty rate of 2% to 0% over the next two years while in the next decade China looks to become a moderately prosperous society for all its citizens. Furthermore, the drive to Create in China seeks to transform the country’s economy from one aimed at efficient production to one where production is increasingly mechanised and guided by artificial intelligence while Chinese entrepreneurs are encouraged to pioneer the next great leaps forward in technological, pharmaceutical and transport innovation on Chinese soil.
At a fundamental level, market socialism combines the individuated penchant for innovation in both utilitarian and luxury sectors that is associated with capitalism while regulating the inflow and outflow of capital in order to re-invest the proceeds of wealth back into the people and infrastructure of the nation. The result is a win-win internal developmental model which since 1978 has helped China to bring more people out of poverty in the shortest period of time in modern history.
In spite of this record of proven success, many ideologues, observers and academics in the west fail to grasp the simple truths behind China’s air tight and sustainable developmental model. For western ultra-capitalists The People’s Republic of China is disparagingly still called “red China” while the Chinese people are referred to as the “Communist Chinese”. The clear implication is that China is a backward society vis-a-vis the west where total regulation from the centre dominates the economic, political and social life of the country. This is said in spite of the fact that Chinese are now both producers, consumers and inventors of many groundbreaking luxury items while Chinese society continues to develop in a manner that puts the needs of people before the needs of a corrupt class of business oligarchs or politicians. China’s enforcement of strict laws which prohibit corrupt activity in many cases under the penalty of execution, has helped China’s society to become increasingly peaceful, free and innovative.
Inversely, many western leftists cannot comprehend that the logical development of a socialist economy ought to be the shared wealth that comes from optimism backed up by hard work and patriotism and likewise, a system where hard work and patriotism has led to the flourishing of a collective spirit of optimism that Xi Jinping calls the Chinese dream. All political systems must evolve to meet the contemporary needs of the people and the world that shapes their lives. Deng Xiaoping understood this clearly in the 1970s and today, Xi Jinping Thought looks to guide this spirit of political, economic and social evolution into the 21st century. There is a tendency of many self-identified communists in western states to adopt an attitude of the former Albanian leader Enver Hoxha who famously severed ties first with the Soviet Union and later with China because he felt their leadership was not sufficiently Marxist-Leninist enough for his liking.
The result of this attitude was that while China continued to thrive and prosper beginning in the late 1970s, Albania remained poor. Yet Hoxha remains a hero for many in the west who conflate being old fashioned with being authentic. In reality, what good is any political system if it does not deliver a better life to the people today than that which was the reality yesterday? The self-evident answer is that such a political system is a failure.
Thus, while both capitalists and self-proclaimed communists in the United States and much of Europe seek out political systems that match their zero-sum mentality, China has been pursuing a system that offers the greatest amount of success to the greatest amount of people. The fact is that statements trying to postulate whether China is “more communist” or “more capitalist” in the year 2018 are missing the point entirely. While such people argue over whether a glass is half full or half empty, the reality is that Chinese leaders and workers are busy filling the glass to the top, leaving no room for ambiguity. A system which retains socialist values and regulations but one which allows market expansion to meet the needs of the modern era is one that in the words of Deng Xiapoing continues to catch proverbial mice.
The Chinese model of pursuing win-win partnerships abroad can therefore be described as one that is deeply informed by its own experience of pursuing a win-win model domestically.