Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Thoughts on 不断开拓当代中国马克思主义政治经济学新境界 作者:习近平 (Constantly open up a new realm of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy / Xi Jinping)

Pix © Larry Catá Backer View of Beijing on a Clear Day

As I have been reporting over the course of the last year or so, Xi Jinping has been building a corpus of writings that collectively are intended to serve as the memorialization of New Era Theory.  To that end, these writings have been published periodically in the flagship Journal of the Chinese Communist Party--Qiushi (Seeking Truth).

For its  Issue 16 (issued 16 August 2929), Qiushi published Xi Jinping's 不断开拓当代中国马克思主义政治经济学新境界 (Constantly open up a new realm of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy), a speech by General Secretary Xi Jinping during the 28th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th Central Committee on November 23, 2015 (and updated). These essays are important not only because of their influence on the development of Chinese Marxist Leninism.  They are also critical signals about the emphasis of Leninist development at a particular time.  The choice of essays to publish and the timing of that publication may provide a window both on the vectors of theoretical development, but also of what may be an important element of internal discussion at the time of publication. 

For this issue the focus appears to be on the Marxist normative elements of Markets Marxism (for my discussion of the model, see, Central Planning versus Markets Marxism: Their Differences and Consequences for the International Ordering of State, Law, Politics, and Economy ).  The issue, and one central to New Era theory, is to accomplish two objectives  The first is to distinguish socialist from capitalist markets economies--that is to make the case that markets are methodological not normative instruments.  The second is to suggest the Chinese and socialist character that may be built into markets. 

The original text along with a crude English translation follows, along with brief reflections.

1. The Core leadership of the CCP have long centered the theorization of the Chinese political-economic model. Tough it tends to be dismissed as "slogans" or "propaganda" by outsiders, the theorization of the political-economic model is among the most important elements of New Era Theory. Their are no doubts many reasons that are known only to the core leadership and their close circle of advisors.  Likewise, for most people, the importance of these efforts are more usefully focused on the interpersonal politics and the institutional maneuverings that is common to large and powerful organizations with its own ethos and framing ideology (in Marxist Leninist terms, its "working style").

2. Yet it would be a mistake to dismiss the value of this exercise not just as theory, but as the foundation from which much policy will be built. Xi is clear on this point; the "purpose of studying Marxist political economy is to better guide the practice of economic development in our country." That is the nature of theory with Chinese characteristics.  It is meant not to serve as a sort of laundry list, but rather as a normative template only within which can Chinese Marxist Leninism be applied through the state apparatus, and only within the values of which may individual and institutional conduct be assessed, punished and reward (through the emerging systems of accountability within the CCP and outside of it, through Social Credit systems).

3. The efforts at theorizing the political economic model has acquired a global dimension since 2015 when it was first delivered by Xi Jinping. Even as the Chinese were developing their model with national characteristics, the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) was undertaking the same exercise.  The Cuban effort produced a unified document that continues to serve as the foundatinal template for PCC and state approaches to governance (discussed in Cuba’s Caribbean Marxism: Essays on Ideology, Government, Society, and Economy in the Post Fidel Castro Era (2018) summary here).  Chinese Leninist theorists, on the other hand, have taken a linear and fragmented approach to the development of theory.  That difference in principles of theory making is important.  It reflects quite distinct views of both the character of ideological development, and its character (dynamic versus static). It underlines the importance of national conditions and therefore the difficulty of speaking about Marxist-Leninism as one unified global theory except at a brad level of generality. Theory making, then, is the way in which the Chinese vanguard makes meaning within which the world is understood, their responsibilities better defined, and the parameters of analysis constructed.

4. Issues of theorization of the political-economic model is also crucial now and thus a mandatory task for the core leadership.  This leadership has moved Chinese Marxist Leninism to embrace the fundamental animating premise that China has moved decisively from the old (Deng Xiaoping) Era to a New Era.  That fundamental shift then makes it necessary to align theoretical development to the march of history and the changes in the stage of development to China (and its vanguard party) now find themselves.  At the same time, progress and development is not revolutionary rupture (that was meant to occur only once--and legitimated in 1949 with the victory of the CCP forces).  As such, New Era theorization must build on rather than dispatch the key structural foundations of the prior era--socialist modernization, reform and opening up, and Markets Marxism. That tension was meant to be bridged by the movement from from old era to the new era fundamental contradiction on which the revised political-economic model might be erected. 
Xi Jinping said Wednesday that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved, as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. Xi made the remarks in a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing. "What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life," he said. The evolution of the principal contradiction represents a "historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country," Xi said. (Principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved in new era: Xi  (2017)).
5.  As such, any effort to move forward the political economic model into the New Era requires a focus on the current principal contradiction, and any deviation from the path through that contradiction would have to be dismissed as error--that is, it would not be capable of consideration. o that end, all of the fundamental principles of old era ideology on which the Chinese political-economic model were built would necessarily have to be modified (developed) to suit the times.  But that suiting of the times (like that of its predecessor) would continue to have to be assessed (and disciplined) by the fundamental objective: the institution of a communist vanguard party to lead the nation toward the development of a communist society in China. That is the objective from which there can be no deviation (though of course its neglect from time to time suggest the need for the sort of improvements in self discipline that have been the subject of Reports to the CCP Congress for many decades.

6. One of the most curious elements of this. like other writings of the same sort, is the studied defensiveness of the text (e.g., "Some people think that Marxist political economy is outdated and Capital is outdated."不断开拓当代中国马克思主义政治经济学新境界 and below in English). This discursive trope is an important element of modern Chinese Marxist Leninist writings--it has deep roots in the evolution of China's consciousness from out of what appears to be the great formative period of Chinese modernity--its humiliating engagement with the West in the 19th century.  Thus one sees echos of this trope everywhere--from the construction of Chinese foreign policy, to the structuring of the Belt and Road Initiative, to the way that Chinese officials will create systems of (comparative) assessment.  It is central to the developmental principle of Chinese Marxist-Leninism embedded in the CCP Basic Line ("China is currently in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come. This is a stage of history that cannot be bypassed as China, which used to be economically and culturally lagging, makes progress in socialist modernization; it will take over a century." Constitution of the CCP).

7. The key elements of the New era political-economic model are organized around six key principles.

“First, adhere to the people-centered development thinking.” The focus here is on the development of the collective.  The focus is on collective prosperity both in the material and societal sense.  Development is a moral as well as an economic process.  The focus of the political economy, then, must be on the “al around development of the people.”  That is  a conception quite distinct from its liberal democratic counterparts.  It focus not just on economic, social, and cultural rights (over civil and political rights), but it refocuses the objective of those rights on the collective.

"Second, adhere to the new development concept." The New Era offers a five point development concept: “innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing.” They point normatively to late stage communist conceptions, and include an internationalist element.  But they remain relatively underdeveloped.

"Third, uphold and improve the basic socialist economic system. "The focus here is on the primary role of the state sector in economic organization. But public ownership does not mean central planning of the Soviet o Cuban style.  There is an emphasis on market mechanisms for allocating resources.  But the ultimate control of key elements is state driven.  In effect, the political is meant to be reinserted into the economy.  That is, there is am emphasis of the role of political objectives as an economic value that ought to drive decision-making—and especially that of state enterprises. As Xi then notes, “It is also an important guarantee for consolidating the party's ruling position and adhering to my country's socialist system.”

"Fourth, uphold and improve the socialist basic distribution system." The object of production for the New Era political-economic model must be distribution.  That follows directly from the character of the new era principal contradiction. This ties in to the first principle of “people centering.” Thus, the ends of production are not merely to create wealth, but also to make that determination as a function of its vale in distributing wealth to the collective.  Note, though, that this is not meant to produce Cuban style uniformity in the short run.  There is plenty of room for disparities of the enjoyment of the fruits of production, but there is also a political obligation to ensure that these differences are not skewed. 

"Fifth, adhere to the direction of socialist market economy reform." The objective s to better merge the value of markets as an efficient system of allocating resources with a vanguard politics committed to the utilization of economics for quite specific societal aims.  Economics, it is emphasized, is political.  That is its value and utility s not measured merely by economic gain, but is measured instead by the political value of that gain.  The political value of gain, in turn, is to be measured against the ultimate obligation of the vanguard party—to bring about the establishment of a communist society in China.

"Sixth, adhere to the basic national policy of opening up." Here one encounters Chinese communist internationalism in the new Era.  That internationalism is embodied in the Belt and Road initiative.  And like the rest of the New Era political-economic model, it is meant to combine economic policy and political objectives.  That is communist internationalism advances economics bent toward political objectives.  Those objectives produce a victory for Chinese national objectives, but in the process are also meant to produce gain for China’s parters (and thus the “win-win” nature of the strategy).  But the win-win is not identical; each is measured by the context and each state. The result, of course, outside of China, remains controversial, especially where by outside measures China may appear to win more than its partners.


来源:《求是》2020/16 2020-08-30 08:30:00

来源:《求是》2020/16 作者:习近平 2020-08-15 15:06:46







2020年7月31日上午,北斗三号全球卫星导航系统建成暨开通仪式在北京举行。中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平出席仪式,宣布北斗三号全球卫星导航系统正式开通并参观北斗系统建设发展成果展览展示。 新华社记者 鞠鹏/摄








  2020年7月22日至24日,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平在吉林省考察。这是7月23日下午,习近平考察长春新区规划展览馆,了解新区规划建设情况。 新华社记者 王晔/摄



  2020年6月8日至10日,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平在宁夏考察。这是6月9日下午,习近平在银川市贺兰县稻渔空间乡村生态观光园,了解宁夏现代农业发展和特色农产品情况。 新华社记者 鞠鹏/摄








Contents of ``Seeking Truth'' Issue 16, 2020
Source: "Seeking Truth" 2020/16 2020-08-30 08:30:00

Constantly open up new realms of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy
Source: "Seeking Truth" 2020/16 Author: Xi Jinping 2020-08-15 15:06:46

Constantly open up new realms of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy※

Xi Jinping

   Today, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee conducted the 28th collective study. The content of the study was the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy. The purpose of arranging this study is to strengthen the study and understanding of the basic principles of Marxism. Before, we have arranged to study the topics of historical materialism and dialectical materialism. This time, we will deepen our understanding and grasp of the laws of economic development by reviewing Marxist political economy, and improve our ability and level of leading our country's economic development.

   Next, let me talk about a few experiences.

  Marxist political economy is an important part of Marxism, and it is also a required course for us to persist and develop Marxism. Based on the world outlook and methodology of dialectical materialism and historical materialism, Marx and Engels criticized and inherited the ideological achievements of historical economics, especially British classical political economy, and established Marxist political economy through in-depth research on human economic activities. It reveals the laws of economic movement in human society, especially capitalist society. Engels said that "all theories of the proletarian party come from the study of political economy." Lenin regarded political economy as the "most profound, most comprehensive, and detailed proof and application" of Marxist theory. At present, there are various kinds of economic theories, but the foundation of our political economy can only be Marxist political economy, not other economic theories.

  Some people think that Marxist political economy is outdated and Capital is outdated. This judgment is arbitrary and wrong. To put it aside, from the perspective of the international financial crisis, many capitalist countries have continued to suffer economic downturns, serious unemployment problems, increased polarization, and deepening social conflicts. The facts show that the inherent contradiction between the socialization of production and the private possession of the means of production still exists in capitalism, but the manifestations and characteristics of existence are different. After the international financial crisis, many Western scholars are also re-studying Marxist political economy and "Das Kapital" to reflect on the drawbacks of capitalism. Last year, "The Capital in the 21st Century" written by French scholar Thomas Piketty sparked extensive discussion in the international academic community. He used detailed data to prove that the degree of inequality in the United States and other Western countries has reached or exceeded the highest level in history. He believes that unchecked capitalism has exacerbated wealth inequality and will continue to deteriorate. His analysis was mainly carried out from the field of distribution, and did not involve much more fundamental ownership issues, but the conclusions he reached are worthy of our deep consideration.

   On the morning of July 31, 2020, the completion and opening ceremony of the Beidou-3 global satellite navigation system was held in Beijing. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, President of the State, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission attended the ceremony and announced the official opening of the Beidou-3 global satellite navigation system and visited the exhibition and display of Beidou system construction and development achievements. Xinhua News Agency reporter Ju Peng/photo

   Our party has always attached great importance to the study, research, and application of Marxist political economy. Comrade Mao Zedong has intensively studied "Das Kapital" four times, and has presided over several seminars on the Soviet "Textbook of Political Economy", emphasizing that "the study of political economy issues has great theoretical and practical significance." Comrade Mao Zedong creatively put forward a new democratic economic program during the period of new democracy. In the process of exploring the road of socialist construction, he put forward original views on the development of our country's economy, such as proposing the basic contradiction theory of a socialist society, putting forward overall planning, Pay attention to the important viewpoints of comprehensive balance, agriculture as the foundation, industry as the leading factor, and coordinated development of agriculture, light and heavy. These are our party’s creative development of Marxist political economy.

   Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Party, our party has combined the basic principles of Marxist political economy with the new practice of reform and opening up, and has continuously enriched and developed Marxist political economy. After the "Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Economic System Reform" was passed in October 1984, Comrade Deng Xiaoping commented: "I wrote a first draft of political economy, which is a political economy that combines the basic principles of Marxism with the practice of Chinese socialism." . For more than 30 years, with the continuous deepening of reform and opening up, we have formed many important theoretical results of contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy, such as theories about the essence of socialism, theories about the basic economic system in the primary stage of socialism, and the establishment of and Implement the theory of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development concepts, theories about developing a socialist market economy, enabling the market to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and better giving play to the role of the government, and theories about China's economic development entering a new normal , Theories about promoting the coordination of new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization, theories about the attributes of ownership, contracting rights, and management rights to the land contracted by farmers, and theories about making good use of both international and domestic markets and two resources , Theories on promoting social fairness and justice and gradually realizing common prosperity for all people, etc. These theoretical results have not been mentioned by classic Marxist writers, and we did not have practice and knowledge in this area before the reform and opening up. They are political economy that adapts to the national conditions and characteristics of the times in contemporary China. It not only powerfully guides China’s economic development practice, but also opens up The new realm of Marxist political economy.

   Now, in the changing tide of the world economy, whether we can steer the big ship of our country's economy well is a major test for our party. Facing the extremely complex domestic and international economic situation and the diverse economic phenomena, learning the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy will help us master scientific economic analysis methods, understand the process of economic movement, and grasp the laws of social and economic development. Improve the ability to control the socialist market economy and better answer the theoretical and practical questions of China's economic development.

  The purpose of studying Marxist political economy is to better guide the practice of economic development in our country. We must not only adhere to its basic principles and methodology, but also integrate with our country’s actual economic development to continuously form new theoretical results.

  First, adhere to the people-centered development thinking. To develop for the people is the fundamental position of Marxist political economy. Marx and Engels pointed out: "The movement of the proletariat is an independent movement for the overwhelming majority of people and for the benefit of the overwhelming majority." In the future society, "production will aim at the prosperity of all people." Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the essence of socialism is to liberate the productive forces, develop the productive forces, eliminate exploitation, eliminate polarization, and ultimately achieve common prosperity. The Fifth Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China clearly stated that it is necessary to adhere to the people-centered development concept, and to promote the well-being of the people, promote the all-round development of the people, and make steady progress toward common prosperity as the starting point and end of economic development. We must never forget this point. We must firmly adhere to this fundamental position when deploying economic work, formulating economic policies, and promoting economic development.

  Second, adhere to the new development concept. In response to the new changes in my country's economic development environment, conditions, tasks, requirements, etc., the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee proposed to establish and adhere to the development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing. These five development concepts are put forward on the basis of a profound summary of domestic and foreign development experience and lessons, and an in-depth analysis of the general development trend at home and abroad. They collectively reflect our party’s new understanding of the laws of economic development in our country, and are similar to those of Marxist political economy. The views are the same. For example, Marx and Engels envisioned that in the future society, "all people share the benefits created by everyone", "people are directly natural existences", and "natural history and human history restrict each other." At the same time, these five development concepts are also a sublimation of the perceptual knowledge we have gained in promoting economic development and a theoretical summary of our practice of promoting economic development. We must persist in using new development concepts to guide and promote my country's economic development, continuously solve economic development problems, and create a new situation in economic development.

   From July 22 to 24, 2020, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the State, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited Jilin Province. This is the afternoon of July 23. Xi Jinping inspected the Changchun New Area Planning Exhibition Hall to learn about the planning and construction of the new area. Xinhua News Agency reporter Wang Ye/photo

   Third, uphold and improve the basic socialist economic system. Marxist political economy believes that the ownership of the means of production is the core of the relations of production and determines the basic nature and development direction of society. Since the reform and opening up, our party has summed up both positive and negative experiences, established the basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism, emphasized the adherence to public ownership as the mainstay and the common development of multiple ownership economies, and made it clear that both public and non-public ownership economies are socialist market economies. An important part of China’s economic and social development is an important foundation. We must unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector of the economy, encourage, support, and guide the development of the non-public sector of the economy, and promote various ownership systems to complement each other's strengths, promote each other, and develop together. At the same time, we must be very clear that my country's basic economic system is an important pillar of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and the foundation of the socialist market economic system. The dominant position of public ownership cannot be shaken, and the leading role of the state-owned economy cannot be shaken. This is an institutional guarantee to ensure that the people of all ethnic groups in our country share the fruits of development. It is also an important guarantee for consolidating the party's ruling position and adhering to my country's socialist system.

  From June 8 to 10, 2020, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the State, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission visited Ningxia. It was the afternoon of June 9th. Xi Jinping was at the Rural Ecological Sightseeing Park of Rice Fishing Space in Helan County, Yinchuan City, to learn about the development of modern agriculture and special agricultural products in Ningxia. Xinhua News Agency reporter Ju Peng/photo

   Fourth, uphold and improve the socialist basic distribution system. Marxist political economy believes that distribution is determined by production, and it is counterproductive. "And what can best promote production is the kind of distribution that enables all members of society to develop, maintain and exercise their abilities as comprehensively as possible." Starting from the reality of our country, we have established a distribution system in which distribution according to work is the main body and multiple distribution methods coexist. Practice has proved that this institutional arrangement is conducive to mobilizing the polarities of all parties, and is conducive to the organic unity of efficiency and fairness. Due to various reasons, there are still some outstanding problems in the current income distribution in my country, mainly the widening income gap, the low proportion of labor remuneration in the primary distribution, and the low proportion of residents' income in the national income distribution. In this regard, we must attach great importance to it, strive to promote the synchronization of residents’ income growth with economic growth, increase in labor remuneration and increase in labor productivity, continue to improve systems and specific policies, adjust the national income distribution pattern, continue to increase the income of urban and rural residents, and continue to reduce income gap.

   Fifth, adhere to the direction of socialist market economy reform. Developing a market economy under socialist conditions is a great pioneering work of our party. A key factor in the great success of my country's economic development is that we have not only brought into play the strengths of the market economy, but also the advantages of the socialist system. We are developing a market economy under the major premise of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system. We must never forget the attributive "socialism". The reason for saying that it is a socialist market economy is to uphold the superiority of our system and effectively prevent the drawbacks of the capitalist market economy. We must adhere to the dialectics and the two-point theory, continue to work hard on the combination of the basic socialist system and the market economy, and give full play to both advantages. We must not only "effective market", but also "promising government", and strive to practice to solve this worldwide problem in economics.

   Sixth, adhere to the basic national policy of opening up. Marxist political economy believes that human society will eventually move from the history of all nations to world history. At present, our country has unprecedented close ties with the world. The influence of our economy on the world economy and the influence of the world economy on our economy are unprecedented. Under the conditions of the in-depth development of economic globalization, we cannot engage in construction behind closed doors. Instead, we must be good at coordinating the overall domestic and international situations and make good use of the two international and domestic markets and two resources. It is necessary to follow the trend of my country's economy deeply integrating into the world economy, develop a higher level of open economy, actively participate in global economic governance, and promote the development of the international economic order in the direction of equality, justice, and win-win cooperation. At the same time, we must resolutely safeguard our country’s development interests, actively guard against various risks, and ensure national economic security. There are many theoretical and practical issues that require in-depth study.

   In short, we adhere to the basic principles and methodology of Marxist political economy, and do not exclude reasonable elements of foreign economic theories. Western economics' knowledge about finance, prices, currency, markets, competition, trade, exchange rates, industries, enterprises, growth, management, etc., reflects the general laws of socialized mass production and market economy, and should be used for reference. At the same time, for foreign economics, especially Western economics, we must insist on removing the rough and the essence, removing the falsehood and keeping the truth, insisting on focusing on me and using it for me. For the content that reflects the attributes and values ​​of the capitalist system, and for the content that has the color of Western ideology, Can't copy it. Although economics is the study of economic issues, it cannot be separated from social politics, pure and pure. In our economics teaching, we must talk about Marxist political economy. We must talk about the political economy of socialism in contemporary China, and we must not be marginalized.

   For Marxist political economy to be viable, it must advance with the times. Practice is the source of theory. We have spent several decades to complete the development process that developed countries have traversed for hundreds of years. my country's economic development process is magnificent and its achievements have attracted worldwide attention. It contains great motivation, vitality and potential for theoretical creation. At present, both the world economy and my country's economy are facing many new major issues, and scientific theoretical answers are needed. Based on our country’s national conditions and our development practices, we must thoroughly study the world economy and the new conditions and problems facing our country’s economy, reveal new characteristics and new laws, refine and summarize the regular results of China’s economic development practices, and upgrade practical experience to systematization The theory of economics in China continues to open up new realms in contemporary Chinese Marxist political economy, and contributes Chinese wisdom to the innovation and development of Marxist political economy.

  ※This is a speech by General Secretary Xi Jinping during the 28th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th Central Committee on November 23, 2015.

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