[Marxism] China, Henry Liu and the Heritage Foundation
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 17 22:24:20 MDT 2004
David McDonald wrote:
> Louis P. has said nothing in the current exchange to bolster or develop
> the view that the Chinese CP is leading the country toward
> re-establishing capitalism. Henry Liu, on the other hand, has posted a
> lot of stuff recently that leads me to believe I will approach this
> question more cautiously.
Henry is definitely worth reading on China. His posts to the a-list
archives are at: http://lists.econ.utah.edu/pipermail/a-list/. It is too
bad that he insisted on posting anti-Semitic material from neo-Nazi
websites here, which led to his expulsion.
I would also read what the rightwing thinktanks, who supply many of the
ideological cannons for the ruling class today, have to say about
China--and more specifically about how it compares to Cuba.
(From "Backgrounder #1010" titled "WHY THE CUBAN TRADE EMBARGO SHOULD BE
MAINTAINED", By John P. Sweeney, November 10, 1994. It is on the
Heritage Foundation Web Page, www.heritage.org)
Those who favor lifting the embargo often point to the examples of
Vietnam and China to justify their position, claiming that eliminating
the embargo will encourage the growth of a free-market economy which
will undermine the communist regime. Such comparisons are not valid.
Capitalism is destroying communism in China, but the driving force is
not international trade. It is a strong domestic market economy
tolerated by the communist government. China's market economy is
dominated by many millions of small entrepreneurs who are devouring the
communist command economy. Moreover, China's market economy has been
growing in depth and diversity since the mid-1980s. Free trade is
promoting faster market growth and expanding the personal freedom of
millions of Chinese, encouraged by entrepreneurs and investors from
Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere who are providing the capital,
entrepreneurial skills, and international trade contacts which are
compelling China to transform its economy. In the process, a vast and
prosperous middle class is being created.
In Cuba, however, the Castro regime is not willing to liberalize the
economy and create a free market. Cuban exile communities in the United
States, Latin America, and Europe are not willing to work with Castro,
and market initiatives by the Castro regime to encourage them to do so
are very recent, dating from 1993 for the most part. The basic
orientation of the hard-liners surrounding Castro is to contain and
restrict all initiatives that unleash individual entrepreneurship and
creativity. For example, the government has arrested people for earning
"too much" money in the dollarized informal economy, the variety of
legally permitted "family businesses" has been restricted, and tax rates
on the income of self-employed Cubans have been increased. Moreover,
Cuba's constitution and legislation specifically prohibit all private
initiative, notwithstanding recent reforms allowing self-employment by
Cubans in approximately 140 categories of economic activity from which
all professionals (the core of any middle class) are expressly barred.
For over three decades, the regime has operated on the basis of divide
and rule. Castro's bitter enmity toward the Cuban exile community
precludes the possibility of replicating in the Caribbean what China's
exile community has accomplished in China.
None of the alleged "market reforms" undertaken to date in Cuba are true
free-market initiatives. Free enterprise remains highly restricted.
Foreign investors doing business in Cuba today deal mainly with Castro's
regime. Cuban partners in joint ventures and mixed companies are
approved by Castro as "safe." Moreover, unlike China, Cuba has barely
started to open up its economy, and what little has been done to date
has been permitted with great official reluctance and with the objective
of assuring the communist government's political survival. China's
economic transformation has been under way since 1978, when important
agricultural reforms were introduced, including the right of peasant
farmers to grow the crops they wished and retain some of their profit.
Moreover, the government of China has encouraged the marketization of
the country's coastal provinces, and since 1992 the Chinese constitution
has incorporated the concept of the "socialist market economy." Although
China remains a communist nation where political freedoms are sharply
restricted, the ruling regime has permitted vigorous development of the
private sector, thus laying the seeds for its eventual demise and
potential replacement by a politically pluralist, more open society.
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