25. Chinese Feudal System Culture and State Capitalism System Culture
I. Feudal System Culture
To my way of thinking, in order to ensure that a system normally works,
1. each component should function in accordance with certain requirements; and
2. all components must be coordinated and unified to play a role.
I think the former manifests itself in society in the form of obligations and functions. Take machine for example. Gears are obliged to turn for the benefit of the entire system, so does the screw used to fasten machine units together. There are even more obligations when it comes to human beings. All of us have to work to increase social wealth, men are duty-bound to raise a family as breadwinners, while women should bear children to carry on the family line. These are the basic obligations of men and women in a feudal society.
The latter, as for me, represents power. Gears in a machine are subject to the whole system. As required, they must stick to their specific positions and stay put, or else, they cannot rotate. The screw should hold the original position and cannot loosen; otherwise, it would fail in clamping units. In the Confucian feudal society, fathers have the power to govern their children, which is called filial piety. Husbands have authority over wives, and it is regarded as a virtue. As for emperors, they have much more powers.
The system established in the feudal society could only be maintained and enforced by political power.
Under the natural economy of the feudal dynastic system in which men did farm work and women engaged in spinning and weaving, the above system, beyond doubt, once yielded huge social benefits and energy. As a result, a far more advanced civilisation was created in ancient China than that of the rest of the world.
Nonetheless, after lasting for over two thousand years, this system obviously is not compatible with emerging science and technology. In other words, new technology generates new hardware, which cannot be activated by the old system. Then this system now becomes an obstacle.
Actually, the first sentence in Tao Te Ching has made it pretty clear, ‘Tao that can be told is not universal and eternal Tao.’ Those specific approaches that can be expressed in words need constant update along with the development of productivity and the emergence of new things. This is how Tao works. No improvement, no Tao.
The Confucius and Mencius doctrines and all maxims in Tao Te Ching may be adapted, changed, or even abandoned in accordance with specific conditions. However, the thinking method that people use to pursue the correct path has gone through a few changes in all ages.
But it is just a way of thinking to solve problems and an approach to make policies, rather than a specific policy and method. Methods and strategies that can be described in words are not eternal Tao. Tao means that things can change and needs to change as the condition varies.
Some contents of Lao-Tzu’s ideas, Confucian thoughts, and their specific plans are indeed decadent, for instance, being content with the status quo. But in another sense, these thoughts represent the pursuit of ordinary people. As a matter of fact, they usually lack ambitions and crave comfort and pleasure.
It is correct to consider it as the ordinary people’s wishes, but totally absurd as a strategy of running a state by the statesman.
After the application of two thousand years, the Confucius-Mencius system needs to be improved to a large extent. It is never behind the times to manage a country systematically, effectively as a whole, and to mobilise all kinds of social resources properly and reasonably so that the society can advance normally, highly efficiently, quickly, and harmoniously. Such basic theories are the changeless, eternal Tao.
II. State Capitalism and System Culture
What kind of new social management system is needed in the current social institution? It depends on the development situation of our society nowadays as well as the principal contradictions thereof.
What are the social conditions at present?
1. Selfish human nature.
Every man look after number one and God serves us all. No matter in society or in daily life, everyone engages in something to satisfy his/her own desires or to have his/her demands met. This is the truth. Maslow outlines a pyramid that shows personal ‘hierarchy of needs’ according to human desires. His theory includes the basic needs for survival and safety, as well as a higher level of self-actualisation. However, each type of desire aims to meet one’s own needs; few people volunteer to do something only out of altruism.
2. Not all men are created equal in society. Some children are born rich, others impoverished; some are intelligent, others slow-witted; some live in villages, others in cities; some live in socialist countries, others in capitalist states; some are boys, others are girls.
We all have different background and our own desires and needs. The idea ‘all men are equal’ is no more fresh news. Though this slogan has been preached since ancient times, in real life, people are unequal.
People share different understandings of equality. A variety of people agitate for such catchwords as equality at all times and in all countries. There is gender equality, equality of opportunity, equality between rich and poor, etc. Equality is a dream of mankind since ancient times. People always pursue it, but never have the dream come true.
In my opinions, gender equality, equality of opportunity, rich and poor equality are all lies and appearances, or to say, the seeming equality is in fact unequal.
In my view, true equality comes from the essential and basic equality, namely, the equality of capital. Equality of capital is the most substantive equality and the most equal equality. Without it, other types of equality are false and deceptive.
What is capital? People in the capitalist countries have the clearest and the most thorough understanding about it. In recent years, China has also gradually learned about the concept of capital. But there are a large number of people, including Chinese and foreigners of the capitalist countries, who do not really understand what capital is. Some even have misinterpretation or misunderstanding of capital.
Capital is neither bloody as many people think nor the enemy of the working people. It is not sacred and omnipotent in some people’s eyes. Capital does have magical powers, but it is a governable tool. Capital is profit-driven enough to serve whoever controls it. It does not make sense to judge it in terms of goodness and badness or beauty and ugliness. Flexible use of it can bring benefit to the common people; on the contrary, people shall be plunged into an abyss of misery if capital is out of control.
As far as I can see, capital is an infinite thing of beauty that co-exists with the sun and the moon. It conforms to the philosophy of Yin and Yang, moves in circles in company with the universe, and never ends.
Why do some people hate capital and capitalists to such an extent that they prefer to get rid of it? It is because capital is not under their thumb, but in the hands of capitalists. Capital services the capitalist instead of them. Capital is reduced to a powerful tool and an accomplice used by capitalists against them. Hence, they hate capital and capitalists.
Marx’s communist society requires people to drum up political power. It is a correct and advanced idea. But confined to the social environment at that time, many specific Marxist approaches need improvement. A lot of theories call for constant development and modification.
According to my perception of Marxism and based on the practice in China for so many years, communism should be understood as a doctrine of joint property, rather than a creed of shared labour. The character ‘Chan’ in Chinese counterpart of communism should be defined as property or capital instead of work or production. Therefore, it is more precise to call communism co-capitalism or state capitalism.
Why do we understand it in this way? What are the difference between co-production and common property? Co-production means that all people work together as manpower. Common property represents a system in which people are all capitalists and work together, though the results may vary with each individual.
It is because the fact that workers labour together does not necessarily lead to common prosperity, but common poverty in most cases. China’s practice proves it to be the truth. Working together is equal to the communal pot and common poverty.
Joint property is in total contrast to co-production, because it is a continuous reproduction process in an endless succession, so we are both workers and capitalists. We work for ourselves and also share out bonus on our own. Property moves in a never-ending cycle. With compound interest, money begets money, and there is more and more wealth. People shall live better lives just as what we wish for.
State capitalism establishes a system of national governance with the basis of state capital.
It is also a huge system taking the state as a unit.
It takes the power and economy as the main pillar and the source of power.
The harmonious society is achieved through the adjustment of relationships between man and man, between man and society, as well as between man and nature so that human beings can fully obtain material and spiritual satisfaction.
Apart from meeting their own material needs, individuals need to improve their mental level and spiritual realm in order to reach the requirements of God.
Human shall abandon the devil, cult, crime, hatred, ignorance, barbarism, evil, and dirtiness. Otherwise they will fail to reach the requirements of God, resulting in self-destruction or destruction by God for no value of existence.