China’s constructive socialism

by Rod Kapunan

Democracy is not a political system, but a process of electing officials entrusted to govern. In Western political thought, the rule of the majority as a political process is crucial that in its absence, one can never call it a democracy. Central to it is the election of the person by the majority of the voters. However, in the Eastern school of thought, which was revived by the Marxists, democracy means collective responsibility and that focuses on the program of government than on the personality of the elected person.

To others, this is a higher version of democracy. Maybe there is a sort of egalitarian dictatorship, but political scientists argue that the process of electing on the basis of the majority begins with the idea of capturing political power either by revolution or by the normal process of election, and winning the revolution is an indication they have the support of the people. The division between the so-called “ruling majority” and the so-called “opposition minority” only exacerbates the contradiction.

Alexis de Tocqueville noted this weakness because people are compelled to accept the rule of the majority as valid, when in fact what exists is the “tyranny of the majority.” The elected leader often implements a program of government contrary to his platform. Since the rule of majority is observed, that now becomes a law where all are enjoined to obey.

To the Western philosophy, contradiction in society has to be resolved in an election. By that, they assume that contradiction will be eliminated. Many overlook that contradiction in politics deals on class interests which cannot be resolved by the expedient process of voting on the basis of the majority. Notably, anybody who seeks to promote democracy is in fact seeking to advance his own class interest. In the case of China, one must not forget that it came to power by means of a revolution. Their leaders realized there is no way to resolve the contradiction except to adopt a different but far democratic system. Chairman Mao Zedong was determined to adopt a political system based on his correct assessment that contradiction is caused by class interest which is concomitant to a given class society. A system based on collective leadership was conceived as a higher form of democracy which implies collective responsibility.

Maybe the socialist system has managed to eliminate the various but contradicting classes but interests continue to persist among individuals. As such contradictions come in different forms and dimensions. Noting this, President Xi, Xinhua said “[the] key challenges that strike at the heart of the Communist Party’s claim to legitimacy, (is) the contradiction between unbalanced development and people rising aspirations—as well as rampant corruption. Development is the underpinning and the key for solving all the country’s problems.” The person resent corruption and considers it the greatest threat to the country.

Corruption is a manifestation of individual interest, and those in power are prone to take advantage of their position. Xi said, negative outlooks can still be observed in the individual which reason why the Party “launched a campaign to raise moral standards, enhance work ethics, and promote family values and personal integrity.” President Xi hit the nail right on the head when he said that “ideology determines the direction a culture should take and the path it should follow as it develops. Writers and artists should produce work x x x to extol our party, our country, our people and our heroes.”

Again, the enemies would insist that without electing those who represent the various classes of society, ipso facto the system is undemocratic because they look at the people as sovereign. To the believers of collective responsibility, such supposition is rather ad hominem because people are elected for their program of government. The 2,200 delegates to the 19th CPC meeting represent the 40 electoral units. Of the 40 electoral units, 34 are divided by a defined geographical area and six units are for the central party and government. The People’s Liberation Army makes up one of the six central units and is the largest in terms of delegate quota.  One electoral unit represents the departments directly subordinate to the Central Committee and another state-owned economy.  The CPC Congress elect the members for the Central Committee and the Central Committee in turn elect the seven members of the Standing Committee presided by Xi Jinping himself.

Maybe President Xi’s call for “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is one many outsiders could hardly understand. Since socialism is rooted on Marxist economic theory, many were surprised when he “gave a decisive role to the market forces in resource allocation, advancing the supply-side structural reforms.” Li Gang, an article in China Today, explained that President Xi has to initiate the “supply-side structural economic reforms” to counteract the increasing overcapacity, insufficient medium-to-high-end supply and unbalanced economic structure. In the US, this problem is the result of the so-called Reaganomics, characterized by stagnation, inflation and high unemployment.

To rectify this, China has to initiate policies, to wit: 1) balance the roles of the market and government, and coordination between structural adjustment and demand management; 2) industrial restructuring; and, 3) improved social security system. To achieve these goals, President Xi proposed a supply-side structural economic reforms, and these include: 1) a cut in overcapacity and achieve a stable growth, which is the short term goal; and, 2) adjust the industrial structure and transform the economic growth which is the long term model. To the West, their solutions are to: 1) impose tax cuts; 2) reduce spending on social welfare programs; 3) promote money supply, and; 4) relax further government regulations. To them, the goal is simply limited to promoting economic recovery and to end stagflation which is a combination of unemployment, increase in the prices of goods coupled by low productivity.

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be arriving to attend the Asean-China meeting this November. His visit is most important because he is expected to lay the groundbreaking in the construction of two bridges crossing the Pasig River. China also provided concessional loans for the construction of the Kaliwa Dam and Chico River pump irrigation project.

Since the rewarming of bilateral relations, China has become the country’s largest trading partner totally $27.86 billion in the first seven months of 2017. China also provided P436 million worth of drug detection and testing equipment. Last month, China donated P150 million worth of construction equipment for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

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