|This article appears in the June 3, 2016 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
CREATIVITY AND PROGRESS
An Exchange between Xi Jinping and Lyndon LaRouche
by William Jones
May 29—A lengthy speech given earlier this year by Chinese President Xi Jinping was reprinted in the government paper, Peoples Daily on May 5. When economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche was briefed on its contents, he made a direct and pointed response on the issue of creativity.
The People’s Daily article had only been superficially covered in the Western media, which seemed to fixate on President Xi’s comments that China’s call for “supply-side” reform had nothing in common with what was designated by that term in the U.S. economic debate during the 1980s. But the speech had much more profound implications, which our Western media totally failed to notice. The speech was a lengthy elaboration by the Chinese President directed in particular to the cadre of the Chinese Communist Party, concerning the situation facing China today, a situation, as he pointed out, that is without precedent in the history of that nation. He also indicated that the “reform and opening up” policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping, which has allowed China to again take its place as a major economic power in the world, is itself at a new and untested stage of development. President Xi also indicated that the way forward will be arduous and filled with difficulties.
He gave a broad historical overview of the development of China during the last four decades, commenting briefly on the disastrous “leftist” shift in the 1960s, which led to the Cultural Revolution, that “10-year calamity” as he called it, which set the economy back many years from the progress that had been made since the founding of the Peoples Republic in 1949.
With the “reform and opening up,” China had achieved enormous success in bringing the country into the situation where it has now become the second largest economy in the world and one of the most important engines of the world economy, bringing millions of its own people out of poverty in the process. The collapse of the international export market has, however, placed China in a new situation, in which it must adopt new attitudes and new policies to confront the “new normal” of the world economy.
In this “new normal,” Xi explained, many of the industries that have been the motor of the Chinese economy will disappear or shift to a higher level of technology and productivity. Other industries will have to be developed that correspond with the growing needs of the country and the world. But the underlying dynamic force of the economy, President Xi argues, must now be situated in a process of making significant breakthroughs in science and technological innovation.
President Xi on Creativity
In one key section of his speech, President Xi expands on this notion. “Since the Sixteenth Century, mankind entered into an unprecedented period of scientific creativity,” Xi writes. “In the course of a few hundred years, mankind achieved creative results which went far beyond anything that had been achieved in the previous thousands of years. Particularly since the Eighteenth Century, the world has experienced several scientific revolutions, more recently with developments in physics, the development of the steam engine and mechanical devices, electric power, the development of mass transport, the theory of relativity and quantum theory, an understanding of the electron, and the development of information technology. With these developments the world has experienced several scientific revolutions, such as mechanization, electrification, automation and informationization. And each of these profoundly changed the face and the pattern of human development.”
“Some countries,” he noted, “grasped the opportunity of the scientific revolution to put their economies into the ‘fast lane,’ with England becoming the chief beneficiary of the first industrial revolution, placing it in the role of a world leader. The second industrial revolution was grabbed by the United States, which soon replaced Great Britain’s role in the world economy.”
The Chinese people, Xi noted, are also a creative people and once played the foremost role in science and technology, particularly in the areas of astronomy, mathematics, agronomy, geography, and medicine, and gave the world those three great inventions: gunpowder, the art of printing, and the compass. “Some data show,” Xi said, “that prior to the Sixteenth Century, among the 300 most important items of invention and discovery, 173 came from China, far exceeding those of Europe.”
What this means for the present, Xi said, is that China must grasp the opportunity to move forward and moving forward means keeping on the cusp of creative innovation. “Only those who move ahead in innovating can maintain the ability to determine their own development,” Xi said. He noted that we are facing another revolution in scientific and industrial development. While China has emerged as the number two economic power, that power is still quite fragile and facing major hurdles. For this reason, he urged a heightened awareness of the pitfalls ahead, noting that there is no clear roadmap, but that only a spirit of creativity and innovation on the part of the scientific elites and of the party cadre will allow China to move ahead in these uncertain circumstances.
“Bringing forth new ideas is a complex process of social engineering,” he said, “involving every section of the economy. To strengthen the development of creativity and innovation, you must insist on a holistic point of view, and seek to grasp the crucial elements, using the most important areas and key segments in order to create a breakthrough in the overall situation.”
The emphasis on creativity and innovation has become a clarion call for China’s economy. It indicates that only through breakthroughs in science and technology can China overcome its present bottlenecks and begin to raise the rest of its population to the standard of living now achieved by most of those concentrated in the urban core of the country.
With that in mind Xi urged the party cadre to increase their vigilance and commitment to the well-being of the people. Here also he called for creative solutions on the part of the party cadre to overcome the obstacles they find along the way. He underlined the need for a more intensive study of philosophy and the social sciences. While he underlined the role of Marxism and dialectical thought to these party members, he also referenced the importance of the Confucian values in formulating policy. He again noted that his anti-corruption campaign was initiated precisely in order to enhance the moral and social commitment of the party cadre, who are to serve as models for the type of social consciousness that he hopes to achieve in society as a whole, and he said the program was not some sort of American-style “House of Cards” manipulation, as it has been generally described by the Western media.
Lyndon LaRouche Responds
Lyndon LaRouche, while noting the importance of the orientation raised by the Chinese President, insisted that what was said was not sufficient. “Where does reality lie?” LaRouche asked. “Where does the reality of the human being, the human population, where does the destiny of mankind lie?”
Later in the discussion, LaRouche elaborated on this point with regard to the space program:
LaRouche’s urgent intervention on the matter of creativity is particularly relevant for China at its present stage of development. As President Xi Jinping is clearly aware, the way forward for China is totally dependent on how quickly it can master the scientific problems facing it today. The future of energy, for instance, is in the long term, totally dependent on how quickly mankind can master the use of thermonuclear fusion power. And the source of that mastery is ultimately dependent on how quickly it can develop and nurture those individuals who will become tomorrow’s Einsteins or Vernadskys. In that respect, the charge by Lyndon LaRouche, the world’s premier economist, to always make sure that you rely on something that you didn’t believe before, can only serve as crucial food for thought for Chinese thinkers who are today grappling with that problem.