Richard Wolff on the Chinese form of Socialism

Early on the Chinese decided (the end of
the last century the beginning of this one) to hitch their economic wagon to the
world market, to become the producer of goods and services for sale around the
world. And in order to do that they had to build industries that produced what
the rest of the world did, either at a higher quality or at a lower price, or
both. And basically they’ve done that which is why Chinese automobiles,
Chinese appliances, Chinese clothing Chinese you-fill-in-the-blank is
everywhere. Most of what you will see in an average Walmart is made in China and
there’s a reason why Walmart stocks up on Chinese goods, and they’re not the only
company of course. So they hitched their wagon to the world
market and they’ve done very, very well because of it. The Russians couldn’t do
that and the Chinese could and they did. Here’s another thing:
private capitalists didn’t go into Russia, hardly at all, but they have been
rushing, stumbling all over themselves to get into China. And the Chinese
understand that and they offered Western capitalist enterprises the following
deal. We need your technology, the Chinese said. We need your money, your capital, to
be invested. So here’s the deal we offer you. We will provide you with well
disciplined, efficient, hard-working workers at a very low wage, the one that
we have here in our poor country. And we will build the roads and provide the
supports for you to be able to make a lot of money producing here in China
more cheaply than you could ever produce in America or Western Europe or Japan
etc. All we ask in exchange is that you share your advanced technology because
that’s why we’re doing this with you. You will have access to our workers and you
will have access to our customers to sell your product.
But we want your technology and your capital. Nobody put a gun to any
capitalists enterprises’ head. They made the decision to accept the offer of the
Chinese because it was profitable them for them to do so. If it meant that they
laid off workers in their home countries, these capitalist enterprises, they could
care less. They did that. They abandon whole industries, they abandon whole
communities. That’s how capitalism as always worked. Only this time, this
destruction of working people in the West was a boon to the workers of China,
which is why I gave you the numbers about the average real wage. So the
Chinese used the world market, the deal they struck with private capitalists and
the lessons they learned from the Soviet Union to organize what they call a
special Chinese kind of socialism that allows for private enterprise (a
considerable amount) allows for market dealings (a considerable amount) but
controls from the top, through the state-owned enterprises, the leading or
dominant sectors of the Chinese economy.

  1. Isnt the reason, that China can produce products so much cheaper, that they exploited the environment an their workers even more than capitalist societies?

  2. Like nazis using the word socialism in their monstrosity of a govt, so too does China w its claim of socialism … to make of its people slaves to eating up both community and ecology on the alter of lowering prices to enrich a few. Their recent moves to militarize demonstrates that they've learned nothing from past errors made by all empires before it. At least they are more aware of the impact of fossil fuels. Goddess help us. One planet. One people.

  3. The Chinese form of socialism has evolved from international socialism which utterly failed and resulted in the deaths of perhaps 80 million Chinese during the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap forward to national socialism also known as Nazism. There isn't even a hairline of light between China as it exists today and Nazi Germany as it existed in the last century. Only the language and geography are different. The rest is identical and it will meet the same fate. It is failing badly if you look closely enough. It is in a war and it is losing.

  4. You are wrong as per usual. China's economy is capitalist with a command political regime. They can produce cheaper due to the government forcing the workers to work slave wages and not to talk about the child labor situation. They Chinese fucks up the environment way more than any other country. What about the non existent patent laws and them stealing other people or countries intellectual property.

  5. HAPPY LABOR DAY: THE JOKE IS ON YOU Labor day – It honors the American Labor Movement and the power of collective action by laborers, who are essential for the workings of society… Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. (Wiki)


    I see absolutely zero discussion or celebration of the American worker, labor unions or the labor movement. We get the day off with pay. That's about it. No celebration.

    It seems to me that America no longer cares about labor, it cares about the employer and the investor. So lets be honest with ourselves. The way we treat the American worker versus how we treat the American employer and investor suggests we should think about replacing "Labor Day" with "Employer Day".

    Maybe we should be showing our employers and investors how grateful we are that they are kind enough to provide us with life giving jobs. Maybe we should thank them for the great health care and retirement benefits they provide. What would we do without America's wonderful and generous corporate persons? We should be grateful they don't shut down and all move to the Colorado mountains somewhere to fight the crushing injustice of the taxes and regulations that labor uses government to force upon them. Isn't Labor Day really just labor biting the hand that feeds? We wouldn't want Atlas to shrug now would we?

    Rather than having they day off with pay, maybe labor should thank business by working the day without pay. Isn't it the least we can do for the capitalists that allow us to live free and prosper? Corporations are the most wonderful persons in the world aren't they?

    Maybe it's time for the corporate persons and organizations of the nation to call for a day to honor the corporate person-hood movement and the advancement of the corporate person rights that are so essential not only the nation's "workings" but the very survival and prosperity of the American employee.

    Maybe we should be celebrating the leaders of the corporate rights movement like the Koch brothers, Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Maybe people like Martin Shkreli and Bernie Madoff as well. We live in an Ayn Rand world, maybe labor should get with the program.

    This is all sarcasm, but Labor Day may actually be the only day of the year that America does not devalue labor in relation to capital. America does not seem to value or celebrate labor, not even on Labor Day. So it seems to me Labor Day has become a cruel joke, a crumb, a bone, an undigested oat for the Sparrows to pluck from the horse poop.

  6. "I immediately demand that everything made in China be made here!" – Donald Trump

    "Yeah, good luck with that." – Walmart, Target, Costco…

  7. It's not a form of socialism, it's a form of capitalism. I'm very disappointed with Professor Wolff's continual misinformation on China.

  8. Seems that people commenting miss the point of this video. Listen to what he says….America keeps insisting that China is 'stealing' intellectual property. But….do they, or are the capitalist corporations giving it to them in exchange for being able to use cheap labour to manufacture their goods so that they could make as much money as possible? I don't think China is stealing anything, it is the greed of the corporations that gave China the tech information that they wanted. They didn't have to, but their greed made them do it…..

  9. People have a hard time grasping the depth of what Wolff is saying. The whole point is that they ARE Capitalist. That's the whole irony of this. See this is what people don't get. China ideologically is "Communist" but their economy is heavily Capitalist! And if China treated its workers and environment better, Walmart wouldn't exist! You and I would literally have empty houses and apts. if China didn't operate the way it does. And yet now we have a president that is portraying them as some sort of underhanded enemy or rival. That's laughable.

    China does exactly the same thing that American companies do – minimize labor costs and cut corners with the environment. And guess what. That's Capitalism. We are engaged in a bizarre criticism and attack on China like they're "cheating us" somehow. I mean it's laughable. China is doing EXACTLY what we asked them to 35 years ago, make all the stuff we consume and do it cheaply. Bam – done.

    You and I are able to happily and mindlessly drive to Walmart every day to buy cheap Chinese goods precisely BECAUSE China produces all of it! We act like all the crap we buy is magic, like it just magically "shows up" on the shelves. We are engaged in a level of disconnect about China that is pathological.

  10. Prof Wolff, to explain our system, you need to dig into different sectors of industry, otherwise, your audiences in the US won't understand.

  11. I think I have watched the full episode. In the full episode, there was a segment ACTUALLY talking about the Chinese form of Socialism. For this segment, the title should be something like "How China rightfully obtained western technology".

  12. Nothing here is wrong or in any way inaccurate. There's just a little fib by omission. Monopolistic consolidation of corporate power is still the stuff of Late Capitalism, even when the state does it. Xi Jinping calls it "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," but a Marxist would call it State Capitalism.

    Dr Wolff parses the economics from the social and humanitarian aspects of the CCP to highlight that a planned economy can thrust a state into immense wealth and power. A holistic approach to the PRC that weighs the economic gains that the Han racial majority has enjoyed in post-Tienanmen Massacre China against the modern day humanitarian and cultural costs might not have as rosy an outlook. A classical Marxist that looks for labor unions and a dictatorship of the proletariat will be sorely disappointed.

    But yes, small number become big number. Hooray.

  13. In other words, they use greed rather than being consumed by it, and they attempt to manage their resources intelligently – unlike certain western nations I could name.

  14. we have corporations who CHOSE to move to China taking their jobs and technology..
    now they cry to us who lost those jobs and those factories to come and save them..

  15. If you want change Americian need to stop buying anything made in China. Or should i say the non working un franchise citizen. Like the bus boycott in the 60.

  16. Everyone want fast money even trump also want fast money that why he had casino business. But maybe he too greedy the business bankrupt. 🤭🤭🤭

  17. How is the traitorous government teaming up with foreign cohorts to sell it's own people away cheap to the capitalists and opportunitists any where near the principles of socialism? And look where it end up, the wealth imbalance in china is almost as high as that of the USA! It should be called Chinese form of capitalism instead! and when you squint enough at it the system in China is fascist in nature! Chinese people are victims of this global capitalism trend, not like what you presented them as somehow wining in this corrupt and unsustainable system!

  18. Well, it does not say much. It is more of an idea of their businesses model than explanation of how their version of socialism (and if it is a socialism) is.

  19. So when capitalist exploit workers with slave wages and working conditions like in concentration camps then its a bad thing. When communists do it than its a good thing and neccessary for progress? Interessting. Very dissapointed in you Prof..Wolf. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it. By the way China is only communist in its politacal system but hardcore capitalist in its economy. Really dont understand why a self claimed marxist praise them as an example.

  20. Professor Wolff is absolutely correct about the fact that China dud not steal western technology. It was given, let's say shared with the Chinese in return for the production capability and access to the enormous Chinese market.

    My main concern about this "deal" is that the Chinese government has constructed a system of human robots. Young workers are rectuited to leave their families and even theur children behind for most of the year to work and live in or near gigantic factories. These young workers are paid more and have access to city ways but not enough compensation to bring their families along to stay together as a cohesive unit.

    As a mother I simply cannot imagine leaving my children and going far away to work for a year at a time. i hated being separated from ny kids for ten hiurs at a time. It would be so hard for my parents to raise another family at a time of life when they are slowing down and developing all kinds of problems of middle age ir old age. My mom had all the love in the world for my kids, but far less patience for the noise, mess and general chaos of little ones running through the house, and playing in dirt or giggling at the table and spilling milk than she had as a young mother. Yet, this is what China has done to families for the sake of national development. Once a year parents come home, often with gifts or miney for gifts for the families they left behind. But long absence, even with phones and modern communication methods does not build relationships of affection, shared experience and pride of accomplishment to be shared with parents as children grow and become their own individuals. I would hate the long separations, and I would miss my parents who nurtured me through a not always easy adolescence.

    As for the working parents, their tasts, desires and relationships change and work life becomes paramount. They are expected always to be available to work overtime, their days are very long and repetitive and slogans, production goals and and very little leisure become everything on a day to day basis. This is, I believe, not natural to primates. We are still human primates and are interactive, talky, and social beings. Work in factories is so disciplined that the rewards must be much higher for sublimating our natural tendencies to interact, to be human. It is not like that in Chinese factories. You don't go home to family and friends. You make friends at work but they will not stick with you through thick and thin. they are really work associates. Workers in China are expected to shut up and not complain about hours, conditions or pay. Take it or leave it and you have to take it.

    Finally, this system of outsourced work haplayed havoc wuth our own lives. Our jobs are gone. our families are impoverished. The good old days of union jobs, ahome, family and community relationships are disrupted and it is every family for themselves in dying cities.

    So, while China has done very well as a nation, the system created by China and the West is not satisfactory for either. We have cheap goods we struggle to buy and poor or no jobs. they have steady work but no home life or family relationships. Just duty and some luxuries to replace human interpersonal, lifelong relationships.

    Why does Doctor Wolff ever see the downside of the Chinese miracle, or if he mentions it he glosses over the cruel human costs for both countries.

  21. I made the exact same point in comments and I think I even put a video on YouTube saying the same point. That it was US and Western corporations decision to go to China. And NO armed(meaning guns to the head) was nessary to have them betray the countries who subsidized them and nurtured them. China is not the bad guy as establishment media would have US and western citizens believe. It is the sole responsibility of Western corporations & the Western traitorous political establishment. With policies, laws, and regulations that gave them licence to do what they did, and get paid to do so. It is not Mexico, or any other country who opened their doors to western corporations as did China. Never mind India, who did the same. The core faults lie with the West. Just as Hong Kong played to the favor of western corporations. And it was the British criminal establishment who manufactured the atmosphere to off shore corporate greed.

  22. You socialists demand high American wages then go buy cheap shit from China. You're stupid and greedy. And deserve to live broke and angry.

  23. So what Wolff is saying is American capitalists moved and set up abroad to maximize their profits. They got around our EPA laws and labor laws. They weren't stopped by our government/Congress via a trade policy to stop imported cheap labor goods from coming in to be sold here. Lost our manufacturing base, jobs,American businesses here closed doors because they couldn't compete with product sale prices. You can take any item as an example. T.v.s/ if there was an American made t.v. on store shelves and a Chinese made t.v. or Taiwan made t.v. etc. The lesser costing t.v. sold and the American one stayed on shelf. How long can any business stay in business without selling its product? Once competition died off then these cheaper made goods were free to up prices without fear of having to compete. China can ,with the agreements of sharing tech with these American companies,, can continue these companies even if u.s. citizen company owners just got up and left. This started 40 years ago. What was so attractive to business and entrepreneurs was the wealthy population of the largest middle-class economy in the world. They found a way to strip the wealth from the peApple the economy. At the same time they destroyed us. Tommy Becker's comment

  24. Talk about cognitive dissonance. Opportunity to make lots of money by providing capital and sharing technology — win-win. Offer win-win while what we really want is win-lose. Win-win wasn't really an acceptable option. Well, it is until it ain't. So now the narrative is we're being ripped off and they are stealing our IP. Can't have it all if you have to share.

  25. I think that is good Professor, but still I think you have to say it even plainer. " 'White' folks: there was never a middle class, we just decided to make you think that by saying you could be 'white': step on Black people: especially ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery). So that now capitalist have sold you down the drain beginning at paying the Chinese twenty-one cents (.21) an hour initially, so you could 'feel' 'white' as you stole everything from ADOS. Nor did you care if the Chinese were working eighteen hour days, living in dormitories, getting raped, and jumping off buildings for your 'whiteness'.
    TELL THEM STRAIGHT PROFESSOR: There aren't any jobs; they went to China, because we've passed the Industrial Revolution and are currently in the Digital Age, as China teeters in both and next shall be India.

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  27. No one I come across can speak so clearly, objectively on this topic as Prof Wolff. Where Washington politicians are making a killing on this similar subject

  28. The fundamental disagreement I have with Dr. Wolff’s analysis of the Chinese market is that he grounds his argument in historical facts (50s-90s) over modern day reality (2005 and beyond). The view was that China freely agreed to advanced technology and development through external (western) forces resulting in China now having a decently sized middle and upper class income market. However, the state has put considerable controls over foreign access to the internal market which comes at great frustration to the global market. They, China, want to still be the producers when economically they are heading towards a more balanced producer/consumer-based market. Japan experienced this in the early 1990s. They want to call themselves a “developing economy” because of lower wage poverty yet economically are dominant compared to most “developed” nations. Foreign companies cannot easily sell products in China when their own products are being stolen of their intellectual property and sold outside the supply chain, through counterfeit manufacturing, thus depriving those companies and their workers of rightfully earned revenue streams. As western companies have come to this realization that China will not fully commit to opening their markets in true bilateral free trade, companies are trying to move towards other producer economies (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc) only to find their products’ IP being further being stolen, produced, and distributed globally through non-official manufacturers in China.

  29. In the West, Capitals own the government; in China, the government have a leash on Capitals!
    The Chinese got the technology from the deal. The Western capitalist enterprises got huge, huge profits; the problem is that they didn't share them around & compensate the local communities they destroyed in the outsourcing process; instead they brainwashed the sheeple to believe in trickle down Neoliberal economic voodoo; the middle & lower classes suffered badly as a result. Now the politicians in the West who were bought & paid for by Capitals are attempting to scapegoat China as the villain to redirect the angers from the "peasants", otherwise, the pitchforks are coming for them! And they are successful to a certain extend given the rise of populism, the shear number of "Trumpkin" across demographics in the USA inc. is a testament to this phenomena.

  30. So socialism is described as a mode of production and economy in which the workers own the means of production and there's democracy within the workplace. As long as workers are exploited through capitalistic means, they don't have a socialist economy. This video does well on explaining the economic situation is China, but not how China's economy is socialist or even how it's working towards building real socialism.

  31. Could Professor Wolff explain why China still dominates the global manufacturing industry despite the fact that costs in South-east Asia and South Asia are way lower?

  32. US fabrication is still in free fall. US bubble is soon going to burst as economy is currently supported by massive govt spending and that can’t last. Its going to be really ugly soon. Such poor and reckless governing is disastrous. But China economy will not be able to sustain current world consumption economy model either.

  33. 1:05 you're either historically illiterate or purpousely disingenuous. Private capitalists, both personally and via proxies made inroads into the Russia on either side of the Revolution, through the Provisional Govt, through the USSR, on and on until today.

    China fits the same bill, with Henry Kissinger and top financial bankers and advisers meeting with Mao and later leaders, giving them support and direction to be set up as what we see today, which is the powerhouse or US-China trade. I don't use "powerhouse" in a positive sense.

    The top of the top of the 1%, and getting smaller, sealed this lock on power by setting up this "Communism vs Capitalism" paradigm as an engine of endless economy and industry.

    Communism began as a legit, organic theory and movement, and much of the groundwork still is. But it is the largest Con-Op of all time at the top levels of society.

  34. So was it simply a long term trap in order to weaken their enemy by using the greed of their against them? Amazing. If rules meant anything then they would advance, but they don't.

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