Tuesday, 4 February 2020

IS THE CHINESE ECONOMY CAPITALIST?


IS CHINA A CAPITALIST ECONOMY?

There has been a raging debate as to the capitalist status of the Chinese economy – which is not surprising or unwarranted given the weight that it occupies now in the capitalist world economy. Of course, being governed by a totalitarian dictatorship, China’s economy can faitly be described as a “command economy” and certainly not as a “market economy”. But is it still “capitalist”?
Two matters must be distinguished from the outset. First, China’s command economy is substantially integrated in the capitalist world economy. As a result, and to that extent, it is certainly part of the capitalist world economy taken as a whole. But, second, the question still remains whether taken in isolation, the Chinese command economy can still be styled or defined as “capitalist”. The answer is a firm and resounding no. And here are the reasons.

A capitalist economy is one in which the living activity of workers under the division of social labour is “exchanged” by capitalist “employers” with the past dead labour of the same workers but this time taken individually, as if “social labour” could be cut up into individual parcels! Obviously, this exchange is ludicrous – because there is no way known how a human being’s living activity can ever be “exchanged” with the past dead objectified product of that activity!

Thus, capitalism violently objectifies the living activity of workers, reduces it to a quantifiable abstract entity – abstract labour – whose rate of exchange or “money wage” is set by capitalists in competition with one another. Now, this competition of individual capitalist employers for the market-based money-wage cost of their abstract labour can be made possible at all by the fact that the workers are “formally legally free” to be employed by the capitalist for a given wage.

It is this “formal legal freedom” of the labour force, of workers, that is totally absent from the Chinese totalitarian command economy! Consequently, it can never be said that the Chinese economy is a capitalist market economy – or indeed that it is a capitalist economy when taken in isolation!
Nonetheless, as we stressed above, the command economy set up by the Chinese Dictatorship has played a pivotal role in the process of global capitalist accumulation in ways of which here we shall list only a few cardinal ones. Of course, given that it is a command economy that is not in the least capitalist, the Chinese totalitarian autarkic command economy has been used by the Chinese Dictatorship and its Party cadres and henchmen and fellow-travelers as a way to erect and magnify a military-industrial complex that now is beginning a clear and present danger to the Western global capitalist economies and bourgeoisies that allowed it to expand and grow to the extent if has! More on this later.

So, in what ways has the totalitarian autarkic Chinese command economy been beneficial to Western global capitalism? A few points are obvious enough to come to mind immediately. First, the inclusion of China in the capitalist world economy instantly made available to Western capitalists the services of the immense Chinese population of workers – close to one billion workers! -, all under the ruthless control of a truculent Dictatorship (the Butchers of Beijing) and their Party cadres who rapidly and with merciless military efficiency expropriated this vast population from their land and hurdled it into vast new cities with few or no social and welfare services.

This colossal development meant that the global labour force available to Western capital virtually nearly doubled overnight! The cost of this labour force, its money wages and social wages in terms of accommodation and infrastructure and social services and compensation for environmental degradation were almost negligible. This had the effect (a) of lowering nominal and real wage costs in the West for Western capital, whilst simultaneously (b) raising the real wages of Western workers through the goods produced at very little cost by Chinese workers! A double whammy, then: on one hand, lower Western wages through competition from poor slave labour in China, and happier Western workers who could benefit from cheap mass-produced goods there, with real wages rising relatively for workers and falling relatively for capitalists.

Simultaneously, the expansion of the labour force in China meant that Western capitalists could now increase their profitable accumulation by producing for the new markets opened up by the fresh living labour available in China! Enough said on this – no need to belabor these points: they are all too evident to require further elaboration.

But the fact remains that the Chinese command economy is not capitalist although it has been most profitably integrated in the Western global market capitalist economy – because, as we explained earlier, whereas Western workers are “formally legally free”, the same can certainly not be said of Chinese workers, who are the equivalent of slaves under the crushing rule of the Chinese Dictatorship and its Party.

The frightening reality that we are presented with, then, is that although the Chinese Dictatorship has grown rich and powerful on the back of its integration of its command economy in the Western global market capitalist economy – despite this, the Chinese Dictatorship cannot survive as a capitalist market economy because its autocratic totalitarian rule over its own labour force is entirely dependent on the existence of a totally disenfranchised – not “formally legally free”! – Chinese labour force and, as a result, on its ability to control its command economy in an autarkic manner that (a) keeps accumulated capital within its borders and (b) uses this capital and resources not in a “market capitalist” manner but rather in a “strategic” manner wholly oriented to the violent military appropriation of global resources from other nation-states – especially in South-East Asia and surrounding the East China Sea – although nothing refrains the Dictatorship from extending its claims to the Arctic, the Antarctic and (who knows?) even the Moon and Mars – to the exclusion of all other countries!

What is the upshot of this analysis? Because the Chinese command economy lacks the most basic ingredient of capitalism, that is to say, a formally legally free labour force able to negotiate its market price with competing capitalists, and therefore also not able to negotiate the extent and direction of productive activity within parliamentary representative institutions - for this reason the Chinese Dictatorship and its command economy, whilst seeking to acquire strategic resources through ostensibly free trade with Western capital, in reality has the ultimate aim to undermine, subvert and ultimately overturn and extinguish the Western Market capitalist economy! In other words, the ultimate aim of the Han Chinese Dictatorship, its Party and its members is to subjugate the entire globe under its domination through strategic manipulation of trade and through the ruthless exploitation of its own labour force. Far from being able to co-exist with Western politico-economic institutions, the Chinese command economy is a cancer that must be extirpated and eradicated at all costs if our Western democratic institutions are to survive.

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