Monday, October 03, 2005

Capitalism, er, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

This weekend marked the 56th anniversary of “communist” rule in China. In a speech at Tiananmen Square Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed that “History has eloquently proved that socialism with Chinese characteristics and the road that Chinese people have chosen are the only right way.” Which essentially means that they will follow Deng Xiaoping’s maxim to “seek truth from facts,” which means “do what works,” which means “capitalism.” Whereas Marx proclaimed the “abolition of private property,” the Chinese Constitution now proclaims that “citizen’s lawful private property is inviolable.” It is of course inconvenient for a Marxist society to proclaim that they are marching inexorably toward the “only right way” of capitalism. Better the euphemism “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Although their economic motto 具有中国特色的社会主义 uses Chinese characters, speak to any Chinese entrepeneur today and they will increasingly pronounce it with a cheerful 18th-century Scottish lilt.

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