power: more capricious than capital

context: Pursuing 'healthy' markets', Beijing launched measures against monopoly and other violations, above all via supervision of the 'platform economy', cemented in a law effective 1 August 2022. Yet headwinds building up due to COVID-19, Ukraine, property crisis and 'common prosperity' (now inscribed in the Party Constitution), have frightened capital. Transferring the target from private to state entrepreneursthe recent Party Congress signalled tweaking, but not back-pedalling, of the supervisory threat. Author Chen Jian speaks for the CCDI.

  1. expansion of capital can be disorderly, but not capricious
  • capital is neither a ’flood beast’ nor a ’malignancy’: it has operational laws, characterised by the pursuit of profit 
    • correctly grasp the nature and operation of capital, correctly prevent its disorderly expansion
    • utilise capital as a factor of production, avoid misreading it to realise sustainable development of China’s economy
  • Anti-monopoly is not anti-capital; anti-disorder is to promote development
    • 'disorderly expansion' must be curbed by preventing systemic financial risk
    • capital is not infected with 'recklessness' (任性)—despite being capable of disorderly expansion

The Party proposes, claimed a national Party Congress spokesperson on 15 October, to set up ’traffic lights’ for capital. i.e.

  1. It is necessary to 'institutionally cage power'

Power is in fact more capricious than capital. It deviates from, does not run on, tracks permitted by law. Capital indeed brings exploitation.

  • but due to the capriciousness of power, it's hard for capital to match the exploitation and massive wealth brought about by power

Locking power in an institutional cage was sought but not realised: it takes a lot of effort to actually do it.

  • taking anti-corruption as an example, since the 18th National Party Congress, over 207,000 leaders at all levels have been investigated for serious violations.
  • the institutional cage is too weak: power often oversteps it capriciously
  • democratic supervision is most important, with people ideally supervising power

I have repeatedly proposed the Five disclosures, of

  • government budgets and final accounts
  • government affairs
  • personal property of civil servants
  • justice
  • historical archives