Monday, November 3, 2014


HARMONY ECONOMY FOR HEALTHY AND SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT BY FRANCIS C W FUNG, PH.D. A grand view of world’s economy reveals that no country’s economic development is in perfect state, despite the egocentric claims of certain developed country. There existed only relative degrees of success at times and dramatic failures that had disastrous effects to certain nations’ population whether the country is developed or undeveloped. The reasons for failures to meet population needs are many but can be categorized as follows: inadequacy of political system, lack of understanding of economic models, inept political leadership, lack of essential technology, economy closed or partially closed because of political prejudice and finally absence of a comprehensive national harmony philosophy. The need for comprehensive national harmony philosophy came to our attention by the fact that among many ancient cultures only the Chinese culture continued 5000 years with relative prosperity and without interruption. The Confucian Chinese society, with a market economy balanced by harmony philosophy and humane authority governance was a shining example of relative economic prosperity without irreversible natural destruction and manmade disaster for the longest period of human history. In modern days, we can survey the performance failures of individual national economies according to the above mentioned inadequacies and fault lines and come up with the following examples. First let us look at America, the most developed nation with self-proclaimed perfect liberal economic system. The 2008 economic crises began in the U.S. due to under regulated speculation of packaged toxic mortgage investment products aided by the collusion of financial rating agencies. This is the combined error of an extreme liberal democracy system and the lack of political leadership that led to excessive speculation. The devastating financial collapse of America quickly spread its cancerous effect worldwide and caused disastrous sufferings to the world, developed or undeveloped alike. Next, take the example of Russia, the second major power of the developed world during the cold war era. After it exhausted its national wealth in an armament race with the U.S. against all axioms of harmony philosophy, Russia’s economy collapsed. Under Gobachev and Yeltsin, Russia bought the Western liberal democracy governance system wholesale with the full political support from the West. This experiment of drastic political change without time honored harmonizing with actual national conditions totally disintegrated the Soviet Empire. To this day, twenty years later, Putin is still trying hard to reverse the damages caused by the inept importation of a foreign governance system without full understanding. For a counter example to Russia one is referred to another article by the present author titled “How China harmonizes socialism with Chinese characteristics” The other major reason for economic under performance is a closed society. Throughout history successful nations are always open to the outside world and are keen to learn from best experiences and technology from others. One of the most successful Chinese dynasties was the Tang Dynasty, which was open to the West through the ancient Silk Road and sent Tang Zeng to India to bring back Buddhism scripture to China. During Ming Dynasty Zheng He commanded the biggest sea going fleet in history sailed by way of the marine silk route to South Asia and Africa seven times for trade and goodwill. The successful industrial revolution was full of learning examples of America learning from Europe, China was left behind because of closed policy during the Ching Dynasty. A closed society is bound to be left behind and suffer stagnation. A classic example of a modern nation suffering economic bankruptcy is the isolation of North Korea by U.S. embargo and sanction. History tells us we must learn from each other to make progress. As true an axiom as this is, there are nations today that profess to be the most open but in truth because for political prejudices are closed to Eastern cultures. To be truly open we must learn from all whether we agree politically or not. China’s current reform and opening up has ushered in the most profound economic progress in human history. Her level of GDP growth in 30 years took Europe three hundred years to accomplish. This is because she has learned from Japan,Singapore, Europe and America and disregards political differences. Due to political differences, America has blocked all successful experience from China. Continuing our survey of underperforming economies there are large numbers of oil rich countries that are rich and economically under developed. This is because over reliance on natural resources led to under employment and retarded essential manufacturing technology. This dysfunction in economy also applies to nations too dependent on export natural resources export. Thus, they suffer from lack of manufacturing and under employment. By becoming the world’s factory, China, following the examples of Japan and Korea, learned essential manufacturing technology from Japan, Europe and America. Now China has built the technology infrastructure to reach for the next innovation level to become a modernized nation thus further develop its economy. Above by no means exhausted reasons for economic under performance but merely illustrates how major disabling factors can affect countries economic performance. Having surveyed some negative contributing economic factors now let us look at the following success economic performance examples. United States because of its large land mass and endowment of rich resources plus competitive commercial enterprises is the reigning major world economic power. Its liberal democracy system encouraged individualism, entrepreneurism and business competitiveness. During the Second World War, Europe was immersed in a devastating war while the U.S. manufacturing ramp up to meet the needs of war was undisturbed. It thus became the world’s manufacturing center. It became the biggest export empire the world ever known, exceeding the golden days of Chinese silk, and porcelain and tea exports. Having learned and caught up with Europe in technology, America launched the new solid state technology industry in the Silicone Valley in California Industry. With the creation of a venture capital industry, Silicone Valley leap -frogged ahead and became leader of solid state manufacturing and later the computer industry. The 20th Century is now known as the American century. However because of U.S. past success and won the so called Cold War it continued to look disdainly at the failed Russian command technology approach with over focused state investment on heavy industry. The Russian state investment in the economy was now dreaded by America and became a rule for the U.S. government not to become involved in needed infrastructure investment. This is a shortsighted over- look of a balanced harmony economy to develop both the private and state industries. Thus the U.S. today is behind China in needed infrastructure modernization. The Chinese government learning from both the U.S. and Russia keep a balance between State and private industries in its model of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The truth is that both state and private industries have their own advantages. The private industry is more dynamic and lively while the state industry allows the government to invest in long term, large projects that private industries shy away from because of their high risk. The fast train world domination by China in a relative short ten years is an outstanding example of the advantage of harmony economies that learn from all good experiences and balance the economy by actual conditions in the nation. China has learned from Russia, Japan, Europe and America regardless of politics and optimized a system called socialism with Chinese characteristics. This is what I call a harmony economy that combines all good experience into a unique experience particularly suited for the need of a nation with unique development conditions and stage of development. This may be the reason why China may one day catch up with the U.S. and become finally an equal to America. China still has a lot to learn from the world especially from the great America. China is still a developing country facing some very daunting challenges or growing pains such as economic inequity, rapid urbanization, and environmental degradation. All these issues are being looked at by the Chinese government. That is why Xi Jinping, the Chinese president is calling for the China Dream to rejuvenate the nation by promising a better life for all Chinese citizens. Besides implementing new economic policies such as easier resident registration for migrant workers, better land compensation and health service for the farmers, balancing consumption with investment for growth, better urbanization for sustainable development. All these are essential balances a successful harmony economy for healthy and sustainable development must go through as new reforms. It needs to be comprehensive and will not be easy to implement. President XI also recognized that in order to accomplish above harmony economy China must reach deep into its ancient cultural values, especially Confucian teaching of harmony philosophy. “A nation without its roots is a Nation without its soul”, as stated by President Xi. He recommends that the Chinese must harmonize the old and new to build a lasting civilization that can contribute to the world. He has already taken the lead by incorporating ancient Chinese values into Chinese socialist core value in a poem for public education and thesis topics for higher education. The Chinese ancient cultural values combined with socialist core values are: WEALTH, DEMOCRACY, CULTURE, HARMONY, FREEDOM, EQUALITY, JUSTICE, RULE OF LAW, PATRIOTISM, PROFESSIONALISM, TRUSTWORTHINESS, FRIENDLINESS. These combined values clearly show China’s sincerity in learning and harmonize the best of East and West values that are universal. As the author is writing this article on “Harmony economy for healthy and sustainable national development” coincidently U.N. and China jointly launched the first International City Day for sustainable development at Beijing on the same day, Oct, 31st, 2014. The U.N. secretary of General used the occasion to call for world citizens to unite and marched towards sustainable development. He added by announcing “ To commemorate the first World City Day, United Nations, China and the world will unite together to discuss green and sustainable city growth policies”. The title of the conference is “China City future development international forum”. Hopefully there will be many new technologies such as 3D urban farming, clean water recovery, renewable energy, landfill management and waste disposal from this better city better harmony conference. I humbly dedicate my essay on harmony economy to this occasion. Francis C W Fung,Ph.D. Director General World Harmony Organization San Francisco, CA

No comments: