WILL CHINA'S NEW LEFT BE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH?Simon
of Simon World
has an intriguing post about a nascent political undercurent
in China that is unhappy with the inegalitarian effects of capitalist modernization:
"The group is defined by what they oppose rather than what they stand for, the death knell of any political group. The 'New Left' are worried about China's growing income gap but without any solutions. Is the income gap worth worrying about? No, with a but. If you think of an economy as a pie, it doesn't matter if the allocation of the pie is uneven, so long as the pie itself is growing. Is that true in China's case? Clearly the answer is yes. Witness the massive rise in living standards for literally hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens. It is the most rapid poverty allieviation in history. Yes, there is still plenty of crushing poverty in China. But it is decreasing at a rapid rate, not thanks to trendy pop concerts or dollops of foreign aid, but thanks to a quasi-capitalist economic system"
It would seem that, to invoke Communist jargon of the Cold war past, the " correct line" on China's economy was decided in the contest for power between Hu Yaobang
and Deng Xiaoping
after the fall of the Gang of Four. Then subsequently reaffirmed in the adoption of Deng's " Four Modernizations" and the aftermath of Tiannamen in 1989 when elderly Maoist senior statesmen limited their crackdown to political dissent and did not try to reverse economic liberalization.
But these inchoate anticapitalist forces may try to outflank Party centrists on issues of nationalism, particularly on Taiwan and Sino-American relations and thus acquire a larger constituency for their economic policies while driving the centrists toward a harder line. They bear watching.