In my last blog I explained some of the aspects of Communism: an expanded government that entered into civil society, a centrally-planned economy, mass mobilization, and charismatic leadership that circumvents national law.
However, in this blog, I wish to outline how China emerged from its Communist past into the capitalist, albeit authoritarian, system it has today.
Mao Zedong died in 1976. He left behind him a legacy of socialist revolution, Communist political policy, famine, and 73 million deaths under his watch. His successor, Deng Xiaoping, immediately began advocating a much more centralist approach to economic matters and political reform, with his “gaige kaifang” 改革开放 approach to policy (literally “reform openness”). He stressed the need for liberalized markets, but he believed it should be done slowly.
Deng Xiaoping took a greatly more pragmatic approach to improving the lives of the Chinese population, even though the government still has yet to officially renounce the ideology of Communism.
This approach was coined by him as the “Groping for Stepping Stones” method, methophorizing market liberalization as carefully crossing a stream. Using this method, he created economic zones in which to experiment with market liberalization. These zones were cities such as Shantou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, and the entire island of Hainan. In these places, the government slowly privatized industries and businesses, one market at a time.
The reasons for slow market liberalizations were logical to the Chinese. They believed that if markets were all liberalized at once, it could cause catastrophic recession. But if they could liberalize slowly, the newly private industry could absorb the losses of those laid off from public markets. As a result, the state had a much smaller hand in the economy, and let natural market forces take over.
It is easy to see, simply from this perspective why China is no longer a Communist state. Simply by pulling back the size of government and letting the market forces of supply and demand determine levels of production and price. In a Communist state, as described previously, the government centrally plans these aspects of the economy. Under this criterion alone, China is no longer a Communist state, and has been decreasingly so since 1978 when the economic reforms began.
Chris Buchheit was born under the hot Floridian sun during some year in the 1980s. There he studied school matters until moving to North Carolina in 1999. Possibly due to the fact that his mom had enough of him being inside all the time, he quickly got involved in community affairs via the Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the values of citizenship, morality, duty to God and country, and that the biggest kids get to boss around the smaller ones. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2004, and still values the rank as one of his proudest achievements. Beginning in 2006, Chris began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he quickly learned the value of basketball and poplar trees. Since attending UNC, Chris has been double majoring in Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese, and Political Science. When he isn’t slaving over his honors thesis, looking up a bunch of Chinese Characters, volunteering, or mindlessly browsing the same websites over and over, Chris enjoys writing short stories and novels. Much to his roommates’ annoyance, he also spends his free time learning to play the guitar. Above all else, though, Chris values God, his family, and his friends. For the future, Chris plans to apply to Georgetown to further his studies in Political Science, hopefully with a concentration on China. Pending acceptance into Georgetown, Chris would like to study while gaining professional experience in a government job in Washington DC.