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Over the last year, Chinese writers have sought to capture the essence of the inflection point that the 100th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) meant to be. Much of the official material is well known in the West even if not well understood on its own terms. As interesting are the many many efforts to popularize the normative frameworks being developed at the CPC core of leadership for better consumption by the masses--from highly sophisticated elements of society to the old core of mass authority--the workers and peasants.
An interesting and perhaps useful example of this form is a very short essay published at the end of June 2021 by the Social Sciences in China Press: 任保平: 百年大党经济思想的理论创新 [Ren Baoping: Theoretical Innovation of the Centennial Party's Economic Thought]. The essay abstract provides a good summary:
党的经济思想是在综合运用马克思主义政治经济学原理指导中国实践的过程中形成的，同时也是系统总结中国实践经验而产生的理论创新。中国共产党在百年的历史进程中，形成了丰富的经济思想。总结百年大党在不同时代背景下一系列经济发展战略和经济建设实践中形成的经济思想的理论创新，对于推动新时代中国现代化建设具有重要的实践意义，对于加快构建新时代中国特色社会主义政治经济学也具有重要的理论价值。[The party's economic thought was formed in the process of comprehensively applying the principles of Marxist political economy to guide China's practice, and it was also a theoretical innovation produced by systematically summarizing China's practical experience. The Communist Party of China has formed a wealth of economic ideas in the course of its century-old history. Summarizing the theoretical innovation of economic ideas formed by a series of economic development strategies and economic construction practices of the century-old party in different eras has important practical significance for promoting China's modernization in the new era, and for accelerating the construction of socialist politics with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Economics also has important theoretical value.]
Though the object is the evolution of economic thought to its current state, the essence is Marxist in the sense that liberal democratic premises that separate the political and the economic into two distinct realms (public/private; production of goods/production of norms, etc.) plays little role in the analysis. That is largely because at the heart of the political economic model of Chinese Marxist-Leninism is the Party, the nexus point of all collective life. That unification is incomprehensible in liberal democratic societal organization that starts from the premise that autonomous indication actions are at the core of its system of consent based autonomous action the aggregated behaviors of which are to be overseen by political and economic organs operating under the rules of the political community.
The difference is apparent, and quite useful so, in the formulation of the four key points of New Era: (1) First, adhere to the theoretical basis of the guiding position of Marxism (第一，坚持马克思主义指导地位的理论基础。); (2) Second, adhere to the political foundation of the party's leadership over economic work. (第二，坚持党对经济工作领导的政治基础。); (3) Third, adhere to the mass foundation of the people-centered development ideology. (第三，坚持以人民为中心的发展思想的群众基础。);and (4) Fourth, adhere to the practical foundation of taking the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. (第四，坚持走中国特色社会主义道路的实践基础。) .This ideological core pre-dates the New Era to be sure, but it has been govern a new focus in the current historical era (eg marked officially by the change in the principal contradiction). So. . . .one starts (as always with the principles of Marxism as the normative foundation. That normative foundation is protected, elaborated and applied by the vanguard forces of society. Both the normative guidance of Marxism and the leadership of the vanguard develop, the primary referent of which is the popular collective; the abstraction of the normative and its institutionalization through the CPC evolves in a historically contingent and self reflexive way. Lastly,this evolution takes place within the imaginaries of socialism with Chinese characteristics. That brings one back to the disciplinary objective of Marxism as a guiding force.
The circle is completed and the cycle starts again. . . . if it works (theory exists in perfect space), and absent abuse (and in ideological terms--corruption, error, bureaucratism and the like). These core principles, in turn, are authoritative only when understood in the content of their temporality. While core premises move quite slowly, their policy expression as well as their operationalization can exist only so long as the historical context that makes them relevant exists ("Any economic thought is the product of a certain era"--"任何经济思想都是一定时代背景下的产物").
What follows then are the expression of the economic theory of Chinese Marxist Leninism in and for the New Era and subject to modification as the current contradiction is met and eventually overcome. This is offered in two forms. The first is innovation (First, innovate a new paradigm of Chinese Marxist political economy and build a socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics. 第一，创新中国化马克思主义政治经济学新范式，构建中国特色社会主义政治经济学。)And the second touches on the socialization of the principle of democratic centralism with the CPC at the center (Second, adhere to the political foundation of the party's leadership over economic work. 第二，把握中国大国经济发展的客观规律，构建中国特色社会主义政治经济学。). This last part, of course,disappoints a little. Not that it is not correct. Quite the opposite, but because it is too narrowly correct. To some extent both merely rephrase the theoretical foundation, adding only that things are actually happening and that all one needs to know is that one ought to trust the CPC. True enough. But here, if the third prong of the economic theory is as important as the rest, here then a clearer elaboration of the policies actually developed by the trustworthy CPC might have been in order. No state secrets here. Most are well known--even if they may change with greater frequency than historically contingent "Big theory. " That is a pity and a lost opportunity to bring New Era theory down from its important though important abstractions to the level of much more concrete popular consumption. That is the necessarily missing link in all of this construction--the development of more robust systems of mass line dual direction communication in aid of the political-economic engine so well described in this essay.
The full essay follows in both the original Chinese and in a crude English translation.
Theoretical Innovation of the Centennial Party's Economic Thought
June 23, 2021 08:18 Source: "Chinese Journal of Social Sciences" June 23, 2021 Issue 2192 Author: Ren Baoping
The party's economic thought was formed in the process of comprehensively applying the principles of Marxist political economy to guide China's practice, and it was also a theoretical innovation produced by systematically summarizing China's practical experience. The Communist Party of China has formed a wealth of economic ideas in the course of its century-old history. Summarizing the theoretical innovation of economic ideas formed by a series of economic development strategies and economic construction practices of the century-old party in different eras has important practical significance for promoting China's modernization in the new era, and for accelerating the construction of socialist politics with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Economics also has important theoretical value.
The Combination of Marxist Political Economy and the Nation's Development Practice
Any economic thought is the product of a certain era. The innovation of the century-old party's economic thought is an economic thought that can guide the practice of China's economic construction, formed on the basis of systematically summarizing the practical experience and lessons of my country's economic construction, development and reform. The theoretical results of the combination of Marxist political economy and my country's development practice. The basis for the theoretical innovation of the century-old party's economic ideology covers four dimensions.
First, adhere to the theoretical basis of the guiding position of Marxism. Combining the basic principles of Marxist political economy with China's specific national conditions, specific practices and characteristics of the times is the theoretical basis for the innovation of the century-old party's economic ideology. These ideas innovated and developed the Marxist theory on the construction of the socialist economic system, formed the new democratic economic theory and the socialist economic theory with Chinese characteristics; innovated and developed the Marxist theory on the essence of socialism, liberated the productive forces and developed the productive forces , and finally achieve common prosperity; innovated and developed the Marxist theory on the basic socialist economic system, broke the socialist basic economic system that was equated with public ownership, the socialist distribution system was equated with a single distribution according to work, and the commanded planned economic system was Misunderstanding as the classic model of socialism. Especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping put forward the socialist economic thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee's theory on promoting the modernization of the country's governance system and governance capacity, and the integration of ownership, distribution methods and socialism. The rise of the market economic system to the level of the basic socialist economic system continues to enrich the connotation of the basic socialist system.
Second, adhere to the political foundation of the party's leadership over economic work. Adhering to the party's centralized and unified leadership of economic work is the political foundation for the innovation of the century-old party's economic ideology. The basis for the formation of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is China's economic practice. In this practice, the party, as the core of leadership that oversees the overall situation and coordinates all parties, plays a role in the orientation of system construction, the orientation of economic reform decision-making, and the orientation of ideas and behaviors. play an important and even penetrating role. During the revolutionary war years, the party's direct leadership over the revolutionary base areas ensured the supply of military supplies for the war of resistance and successfully led the victory of the new democratic revolution. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in the process of the party's promotion of "one modernization and three reforms" during the transition period, Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out that the party's "political work is the lifeline of all economic work". Based on a profound summary of the socialist revolution and construction practice, the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China made a historic decision to shift the focus of work to economic construction, implement reform and opening up, and concentrate on developing social productive forces. The launch of the characteristic socialist modernization drive and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation have laid the initial material foundation. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. Adhering to the comprehensive deepening of reform, the level of social productivity has been significantly improved on the whole, and my country has entered a new development stage of the primary stage of socialism. On the basis of rational analysis of the new situation facing economic development, the party creatively proposed the major proposition of "new normal of economic development", put forward five new development concepts of "innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing", and made "my country has entered a high level of development". The major strategic judgments of "quality development stage" and "my country will enter a new development stage", accelerate the transformation of economic development mode, and take solving the contradiction between the people's growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and insufficient development as the focus of development in the new era point.
Third, adhere to the mass foundation of the people-centered development ideology. The people's position, as the fundamental political position of the Communist Party of China, determines that the original intention of the Communist Party of China is "to seek happiness for the Chinese people", and also determines that the party's economic construction and economic development must adhere to "people-centered", which is a century-old The mass basis for the party's economic and ideological innovation. One of the important reasons for the continuous development and growth of the Chinese Communist Party's century-old economic thinking and economic theory is that the party has always stood with the people, taking "for the people" as the fundamental purpose of the party's economic work, and "relying on the people" as the party's The fundamental driving force for economic work is to take "the fruits of development shared by the people" as the value pursuit of the party's economic work, and constantly move towards the goal of common prosperity. Adhere to the party's mass line, respect the people's dominant position, have "come" and "go", give full play to the initiative of the people, draw wisdom and strength from the people, maximize the strength of China and the wisdom of the people, let the party The theoretical innovation will remain alive forever. The practical experience of history has fully demonstrated that the Communist Party of China fully understands the people's thoughts, thoughts and needs, and relies closely on the people to advance the new-democratic revolution, socialist revolution, socialist construction, reform and opening up, and for Marx The innovative development of socialist political economy has contributed to Chinese wisdom.
Fourth, adhere to the practical foundation of taking the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The key to the theoretical innovation of the century-old party's economic thought is to find an economic development path that is in line with my country's national conditions. A comprehensive and scientific grasp of my country's national conditions is the realistic basis for the innovation of the century-old party's economic ideas. During the Revolutionary War, on the basis of a correct analysis of the nature of China's semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, the Party formulated an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal democratic revolutionary program, formed a new democratic economic theory in line with China's national conditions, and created a new democratic transition to socialism. the way. In the nearly 30 years before the reform and opening up, the Party combined Marxism with China's reality, and embarked on a road of socialist economic transformation and socialist economic construction that conformed to China's national conditions, laying the institutional foundation for my country's development. After the reform and opening up, under the leadership of the Party, we will unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, establish and continuously improve the socialist market economic system, comprehensively promote the transformation of the economic system from the traditional planned system to the modern market economic system, and change the economic development pattern from a half The transition from opening to full opening and the transition from extensive to intensive economic growth. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Party has further clarified the essential requirement of socialism to continuously promote the all-round development of human beings through scientific judgments of domestic and foreign situations and scientific analysis of the characteristics of China's development at different stages. The "New Era" established since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the new historical orientation of socialism with Chinese characteristics, has opened a new course of exploration of socialism with Chinese characteristics on a higher basis, and has promoted the transformation of economic development from quantity to quality. leap.
Constructing the Political Economy of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
The party's economic work over the past century has been strategic, providing strong ideological guidance and action guidelines for solving new problems and challenges in economic and social development. In the new era, we need to strengthen the political economy of the century-old party's economic thinking. Physical and chemical research, tell Chinese stories well, and explain Chinese miracles.
First, innovate a new paradigm of Chinese Marxist political economy and build a socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics. Economic theory is the concentrated expression of economic activities and economic reality in the field of academic thought. Its development and paradigm change have distinct characteristics of the times and are closely related to social and economic development practices. Today's China has become the world's second largest economy, and its economic development has entered a new stage. Therefore, we must follow the requirements of General Secretary Xi Jinping, "Based on my country's national conditions and my country's development practice, reveal new characteristics and new laws, refine and summarize the regular results of my country's economic development practice, and elevate practical experience to a systematic economic theory. Open up a new realm of Marxist political economy in contemporary China”, innovating and developing a new paradigm of Marxist political economy in China. Based on Marxist historical materialism and dialectical materialism, in practice, we have a deep understanding of the evolution and stages in the process of economic development, grasp the specific manifestations of economic laws in different development stages and different historical periods, and inherit the paradigm of political economy. Constantly expand the innovation space of China's economic theory, enhance its theoretical explanation power for China's story and China's development miracle, and contribute Chinese wisdom to the innovative development of Marxist political economy around the world.
Second, grasp the objective laws of China's economic development as a major country, and build a socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics. Deeply grasping and respecting the objective laws of China's major country's economic development is an important prerequisite for establishing a correct development concept and continuously improving the ability to control economic development in practice. The process of the Communist Party of China leading the Chinese people to open up the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics and carry out socialist construction is a process of constantly understanding economic laws. To improve the ability to grasp and apply the laws of the market economy, the laws of nature, and the laws of social development, and to enhance the ability of scientific and democratic decision-making, we must adhere to seeking truth from facts and proceed from China's reality. We must attach great importance to the theoretical summary of practical experience, and provide theoretical guidance for China's economic development in the new era on the basis of seeking truth from facts and scientific investigation and research. Adhere to advancing with the times, theoretically base itself on a new stage, implement new development concepts, and build a new development pattern. Continuously promote theoretical innovation, fundamentally improve the ability to solve basic and new problems in the reform, opening up, and development of the new era, grasp the development laws of socialist economic construction with Chinese characteristics, and accelerate the construction of socialist political economy with Chinese characteristics.
(The author is the vice president of Xi'an University of Finance and Economics, the key research base of humanities and social sciences of the Ministry of Education - the dean of the West China Economic Development Research Institute of Northwest University)