Mao has gone and the country was deep inside a Cultural Revolution, poor and disenchanted with the Party. Deng Xiaoping took the steering wheel and made the moves. He was the architect of the new thinking which completely changed the face of the country, and the planet. Instead of the countless military-looking citizens with little red books riding bicycles, now we have China as a most dynamic economy, the world leader and an economic miracle never seen before.
LET THE THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM
Deng called it “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” and in the practice it meant combination of socijalist ideology with market principles, foreign investment and one-party system. When asked what type of property China will allow: private, state, common, foreign? He laconically answered: Let the thousand flowers bloom in the garden. He was aware that there will be some flaws: “If we open the windows for some fresh air, certainly some flies will get in.” But China has become one of the one of the fastest-growing economies in the world for several generations and raising the standard of living of hundreds of millions.
Well, some official facts now: China’s socialist market economy is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP, and the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity according to the IMF. Until 2015 China was the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with growth rates averaging 10% over 30 years. Due to historical and political facts of China’s developing economy, China’s public sector accounts for a bigger share of the national economy than the burgeoning private sector. China is proudly self-declared as “the world’s factory”, becoming a global manufacturing hub, taking the title from the USA, Japan and Europe, but also, China represents one of the fastest-growing luxury consumer goods in the world, and definitely the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods in the world. But it is going to change since it is also the fastest-growing consumer market of any goods.
FLIES IN THE ROOM AND EXPANSION
The flies in the room that came along with the fresh air are, of course, pollution of air and water, including the soil pollution. This is emphasised by the plans of Central Government to shift China towards more advanced industrial development with high-tech, low carbon emissions with better allocation of national resources to innovation and R&D for sustainable economic growth in order to reduce the impact of China’s heavy industry. Electric cars and all sorts of innovations are going to be there first.
China decided not to use Gorbachev’s glasnost together with perestroika. There was just perestroika. Economical development without political changes. And it worked tremendously well. You can say that it is far cry from the Socialism Lenin and Mao conceived, but, China is thriving, and the USSR and Yugoslavia are dismembered and mostly, poor. We did not do the right move, Deng’s China did. We can only sigh deeply and wish China good luck towards the position of the world’s leader, which will hapen somewhere between 2025 and 2030.