Friday, August 19, 2011

China: Communist, Dictatorship, Capitalist or Democratic?

There are still many people, outside of China, who think China is a communist, dictatorship country.  This is largely due to brainwashing by the media.  As an example, 70% of Americans were brainwashed into believing that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 (source).

China is communist by name only.  It is not communist and it does not have a dictatorship.

Karl Marx is the father of communism, who advocated equal wealth for every citizen, through government ownership of businesses and control of the economy.  His philosophy drove hundreds of millions into poverty.

Many people tend to confuse or mix political with economic systems.  Communism, like socialism and capitalism, is mainly an economic system, albeit achieved through political means.  Democracy, dictatorship, totalitarianism and authoritarianism are mainly political systems.

People are correct that China may have less political freedom or freedom of speech than other countries.  These people argue, mistakenly, that China is communist because it has less political freedom.  Political freedom can be mutually exclusive to whether a country is communist or not.  As an example, the US prides itself on being free.  California had pockets of communes in the 1960's, where communities filled with freedom-loving hippies agreed to share all work, property and wealth equally.  They even shared sex partners.  These are better examples of communist societies than China.  However, few will claim that these Californian communes lacked political freedom or freedom of speech.

You can mix economic systems with different political systems.  As an example, a country can have communism with democracy, or capitalism with dictatorship or socialism with authoritarianism.

China was capitalistic for most of its 4,000 year history.  It veered off into communism for a short while in 1949, when their Communist Party of China won their civil war.  They have not changed their party name, but they changed their economic system since then.  They started introducing capitalism in 1979 (source).  Since then, China phased in more and more capitalistic systems and is now more capitalistic than the West in many ways:
  • Lower taxes
    • income and sales taxes
  • Less socialist programs with very little or no subsidies for:
    • elementary, high schools, universities
    • healthcare
    • unemployment insurance
    • welfare
    • manipulation of the housing market (Washington had a policy to enable every American to realize the American dream of homeownership.  Canada massively manipulated their housing market to create the longest lasting bubble in the Western world.)
Since China stated "to get rich is glorious", the number of entrepreneurs exploded.  Entrepreneurs exist mainly in capitalist societies, less so in socialist societies and essentially none in communist societies.  Entrepreneurs start businesses and are the main, or only creators of wealth for any society.

China had a totalitarian political system under Chairman Mao Zedong.  However, they now have an authoritarian political system under their one party rule with democracy at the local levels.  Many outsiders are right to be critical of a country with only one political party that controls the media and limits political freedom.  The positive side is that their political party is the largest in the world, with 80 million members.  Also, it holds elections every 5 years, where the party members vote in a new President (source) to serve a single 5 year term.  Therefore, China's leaders can change more often than leaders in the West where Presidents or Prime Ministers can serve multiple terms.

In countries with dictators, there are no elections and political parties are unlikely to exist.  Dictators stay in power indefinitely.

Furthermore, China's democracy is growing as they are growing the number of levels of elections (source).

Karl Marx advocated that every citizen have equal wealth.  By this definition, no country in history has ever had true communism, not Russia nor China.  The leaders of their communist parties, who got into power by advocating communism, grabbed a huge disproportionate amount of the wealth and power.  Every citizen on the party hierarchy was wealthier and more powerful than the person below. To have true communism, these leaders and party members should have been as poor as the peasants.  Essentially, they were hypocrites.  One can argue that they used the idealistic concept of communism to sell to the peasants, in order to gain wealth or power or both.  Mao ZeDong did exactly this.

Therefore, even the billions of Chinese and Russians, not just the West, were brainwashed into thinking that China and Russia were communist countries.

Read more:

Socialism vs Capitalism


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