This ended last Friday and its communique is being studied by learned China experts across the Globe. It is far less clear than the famous Third Plenum of 1978. But it may well have as greater significance as that one 41 years ago.
It is early to say what it is about. It repeats innovation of institutions, and governance many times. My sense is that China is moving towards a change in its governance system – Democracy with Chinese Characteristics.
It is becoming clear to even the most ardent Liberal Enlightenment card carrying member that China is using a different system to plan long term solutions to many of the same government problems as exist all over the world – health, welfare and education to name but three.
China is beginning to show the great new ideas for all these sectors. Where do their ideas come from? They come from a process known as the “Scientific Method”. It is a Marxist concept – how shocking and worrying.
Problem is it works. And look at China over 40 years and it is the product of the scientific method. It is about long term planning and how you test visions and refine them, and test them , and refine them, and then extend the test range and then implement , and then 5 years later refine again. And then have refinement under constant review.
The West is caught in many dilemmas in areas such as health and pensions. They clog our systems and we seem unable to find ways through.
China is coming through now with revolutionary ways of dealing with these issues. And where did they get the ideas from? From us. From the West.
They know us better than we do. They have seen the wood and the trees.
It is the deep experience of capitalism that has been the basis for China’s innovations. We can learn from what they have seen and concluded.
And with Socialism with Chinese Characteristics we shall soon see it as an evolution of Responsible Capitalism. It is about sharing the wealth of a nation reasonably.
And Democracy with Chinese Characteristics will also be based on what they have learnt from us. And we can find dilemmas like Brexit and Trump thought through deeply by China and played back in China.
The smart leaders of the West will be those who take the time to ask China what have you seen, and what have you concluded is a better way forward?
The Sun is Rising in the East and will provide us as they did for many centuries – innovation in science and civilisation as seen by Joseph Needham.
Cambridge saw the lessons to be learnt before the rest of the world. Who will see it this time? And the enormous work they have done – years of teams researching and testing – is available without charge for technology. Hmmm , an interesting thought.
Sorry but Xi Jingping does look like something very very special. Can they be defeated? Not worth the try. Far better to see how to use their thinking to build new regional and global institutions that protect different ways. Better than trying tariff wars.