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The question is can China and America avert turning into plutocracies? 

How Capital Is Wasted

The alternative to rule by the wealthy  

Despite the ignorance of Trumpies who equate socialism with the oligarchies of Stalin and Mao or the ignorance of lefties who think money can just be distributed democratically, we have known since the 19th century and Marx, that the good life of a society requires that capital be reinvested to determine productivity. That is why we need some political structure that controls capital rather than allowing the wealthy to just store their gold in vaults. 

Variants of socialism run from China to Venezuela. Even Iran’s theocracy is a form of socialism. The US is on that spectrum too. The internet, the railroads, the highways , the space program, irrigation, public education .. all socialist.   In all of these countries, a form of government has developed whose centeal purpose is to see that investments benefit society as a whole.  Of course the wrinkle in the cloth is who defines “benefits society?”

Socialism fails if it becomes a plutocracy. This appears to be what has happened in Venezuela. The corruption under Chavez and Maduro, whatever their intent, has meant development of a wealthy class with little motivation to see Venezuela prosper.  Although called capitalism, Buhari’s Nigeria looks all too much like Venezuela.  It is plutocracy, not capitalism, that is the enemy. 

Without socialism, capital  becoming collections of rare paintings, mansions, prostitutes, playboy children and gold plated meals at private clubs like Ma a Lago. Somalia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Trump .. are tributes to “pure” capitalism . Pure capitalism fails because the interests of the few, the plutocrats, undermine the needs of the people. 

Socialism combined with democracy has been the recipe for industrial success since the industrial age began.  Examples run from the post slavery US Germany and Japan after fascism. Now, China and Cuba offer another model .. where socialism is is run under a state corporation. In these cases corporate politics, rather than democracy, determine how capital is used.  Singapore is yet another corporate model where the state is supposedly democratic but run by a small cadre of corporate heads.  This seems to work but none of these corporate states have yet had to deal with the sort of hostile takeover now afflicting our own country.  In China, one hopes the Party would never allow itself to be taken over by a Trump.  The current Presidency says  we should also be skeptical of our own model! 

The question is: can China avert turning into a plutocracy?  

China’s richest man, Jack Ma, now with about $40 billion in wealth, has announced his retirement.   Soon additional founding entrepreneurs from the Chinese miracle will move on form the corporate suites.  Their children too will become players ina  new China.  Will these people create a new ruling class and take over the heritage of Deng Xiaoping and his “socialism Chinese style?” 

The questions is can American democracy survive Trump?    

As Lenin predicted, our media have become dysfunctional,  Trump is a product of an era where anyone with enough money can buy media.  How does democracy fight back?  As the Kochs and Soros square off, America too looks like it is becoming an plutocracy.

 


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