Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sun Yat-sen's economic philosophy similar to Friedrich List's, not Marx's

Nordica found and printed Friedrich List's National System of Political Economy (1846) in the winter of 2003. We were living in Wyoming then, having moved there after I was "dismissed" from the Dawson legal team. I tended bar three nights a week at the Little Chicago down in Worland, and Nordica was Shalee's babysitter half-way up the Big Horn Mountains in Ten Sleep. Most of the ACL website was produced during that winter, and finding List was like finding the missing link. Nordica called me every night for a week after she got the boys to bed and read List out loud to me over the phone.

It was as if I'd never been taught anything about the American system. We were both sick to death of reading Hegel and Marx and had almost threw out our entire ACL thesis on several occasions. At that point we still had not found anyone who could verify what we saw to be true. All available writing seemed to point in the same Marxist direction. To find out that our America, for a very short time, had a whole political and economic system based on something way outside the "Smith capitalist free trader" versus "Marx communist free trader" ideology was amazing.

List never felt the need to hide reality, history, or his practical, scientific observations behind bogus social and political evolution theories. We have still found no verifiable scientific data that proves "the inevitability of class struggle."

We eventually added Friedrich List's global economic studies into our ACL thesis with this:

A: The [your nation goes here] System of Political Economy (List 1841)
+ B: State-controlled world communism
= C: State-controlled global communitarianism

The following excerpt helped me better understand why Marx and Engels dismissed List and the American system so easily from their theory of inevitable social evolution.

From Peter Myer's elist:
(2) Sun Yat-sen's economic philosophy similar to Friedrich List's, not Marx's

{this material was sent by Arno Mong Daastoel . He could supply missing bits if you wish}

Marxism, China and Development: Reflections on Theory and Reality

A. James Gregor

Transaction Publishers

New Brunswick (U.S.A.) and London (U.K.)

Copyright © 1995 by Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903


This work is conceived as a small contribution to the enduring effort toward understanding the collapse of Marxism-Leninism as a political and economic system. Part of the academic community has undertaken a retrospective in order to identify and catalogue the factors that led to the disintegration of an arrangement, welcomed with so much enthusi-asm, that had its origins in the Bolshevik Revolution at the end of the First World War. That is an effort that has only just commenced.

Another part of that community has occupied itself with the task of rehabilitating the Marxism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Its spokesmen argue that Marxism-Leninism was always an uncertain heir to the Marxist legacy. Neither Marx nor Engels anticipated the enor-mities of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Marxism, they argue, of-fered something better than that. It was misinterpreted by its Bolshevik and Maoist practitioners. Stalinism and Maoism were to be attributed to human failings rather than to any shortcomings intrinsic to the work of Marx and Engels.

Still another identifiable segment of the intellectual community con-tinues to entertain the conviction that Maoism (if not Stalinism) embod-ies a laudable ideal. More than that, they imagine it to be the Marxism for our time. They lament the erosion of Maoism that followed fast on the heels of the "Chairman's" passing. The reforms of Deng Xiaoping are indicted as betrayals of the Marxist vision. ...

My wife, Professor Maria Hsia Chang, was helpful without measure. ...



One of the stranger things that happened to classical Marxism in the century and a half of its intellectual life was its transformation into an ideology of industrial development and economic modernization. Origi-nally scripted as a postindustrial revolutionary doctrine, after the Bol-shevik Revolution it was pressed into service as a strategy for rapidly increasing industrial yield and modernizing retrograde economies. What-ever was done was justified in the name of the inherited doctrine - irre-spective of any evident lack of coherence. There was little serious effort to provide a convincing rationale for the transformation. The "creative developments" of Marxism were almost always ad hoc, frequently shar-ing little affinity with the original doctrine, and sometimes entirely de-void of plausibility.

For Marx and Engels, the existence of a market testified to the ex-istence of private property, and private property required profit for its survival. ... However much the sub-stance of Marxism was altered to conform to the realities that faced Stalinists and Maoists, rejection of the open market and of market-gov-erned exchange remained constant. ... Throughout the years between the two world wars, for example, Stalinism was rarely considered anything other than an agent of international revolution. Only after the Second World War was it identified as a "developmental success" and a potential model for developing countries. It began to be dealt with in those terms as more and more nations emerged out of colonialism as independent and aspir-ing states. The industrialized nations proceeded to put together strate-gies for economic growth and development. By the 1950s, those recommended by the non-Marxist democracies began to display evi-dent similarities. ...

In his more mature works, Karl Marx devoted his energies to the provi-sion of an account of why modern machine production must necessarily be "exploitative." and why, as a consequence, the "vast mass" of "proletarians" must inevitably rise up to abolish the system of "bourgeois pro-duction and exchange" - to establish a society "in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."17

At a time when the vast majority of the world's communities lan-guished in economic underdevelopment, Marx and Engels were preoc-cupied with postindustrial revolution. In fact, Marx and Engels, in the mid-nineteenth century, spoke of "modern industry" as having already drawn "all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization... [compelling them] on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production."18

By the time Marx and Engels entered into the discussion, the advo-cates of an interventionist, protectionist state had clearly articulated a program that not only distinguished them from the advocates of tradi-tional laissez-faire and free trade, but identified them as developmentalists, the advocates of rapid industrialization and economic modernization for less-developed nations. Though often neglected, they were to exercise influence in less-developed and developing nations throughout the end of the nineteenth and into the twentieth century. Friedrich List was to become one of the most prominent among them. He was a contemporary of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Born in 1789, by 1844 List had produced works that were to exercise a powerful influence on the economic development and industrializa-tion of Imperial Germany.26 He proposed a policy that focused specifi-cally on the national economic concerns of his native Germany as opposed to those "universal free trade" policies presumably implied in the semi-nal work of the father of all free market economists and free traders, Adam Smith. ...

Central to List's arguments was the notion that nations constituted the critical vehicles of economic development. List maintained that he had perceived "that the popular theory [of laissezfaire and free trade] took no account of nations, but simply of the entire human race on the one hand, or of single individuals on the other."29 For List, nationality was understood to serve as the intermediary between the individual and humanity in its entirety. As such, the nation is the community in which the individual finds fulfillment and matures into a citizen of the greater world community. Between the time when a less-developed community first encounters more advanced economies and when that community attains industrial and economic maturity, government is obliged to con-sciously promote "the growth of manufactures, fisheries, navigation and foreign trade" through specific state policies.30

List maintained that the prevailing "cosmopolitan theory" of laissez-faire and free trade failed to take into account the separate and real inter-ests of economically less-developed nations. The uneven development of industry throughout the world afforded some communities undeni-able military and political advantage in the adversarial environment of international relations. Differential economic and industrial development meant a differential distribution of power ...

List clearly distinguished this developmental program from the eco-nomic notions of the "cosmopolitans," those opposed to state interven-tion in the economy and any constraint on the free flow of trade. By the first quarter of the nineteenth century, those like Hamilton and List were generally spoken of as "protectionists" - given their advocacy of the protection of domestic infant industries - and were so identified by the young Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.37

The treatment accorded the protectionists by the first Marxists was unresponsive - at best. Neither Marx nor Engels considered the issues addressed by List worthy of serious consideration. Marx and Engels were totally unconcerned with national economic development.

For Marx and Engels, the preoccupation with national industrial de-velopment was either the consequence of invincible stupidity or con-scious hypocrisy. In the first place, it was clear to Engels that "the proletarians in all countries have one and the same interest, one and the same enemy." That enemy was not underdevelopment, or a foreign na-tionality, but an international class: the bourgeoisie. "The great mass of proletarians are," according to Engels, "by their very nature, free, from national prejudices and their whole disposition and movement is essentially... anti-nationalist."38

For Marx and Engels the primary reality of the modern world was the constant, irremediable, and irreducible conflict between classes. The "nationality of the worker is neither French, nor English, nor German, it is labor....His government is neither French, nor English, nor Ger-man, it is capital. His native air is neither French, nor German, nor En-glish, it is factory air."39 His enemy was not underdevelopment, or a foreign nation, it was an indigenous and exploitative class. ...

As a consequence, Marx saw little to choose between developmental strategies. He recommended free trade and laissez-faire to less-devel-oped economies only because under their auspices the contradictions of modern industrial society would mature most rapidly - accelerating the circumstances that would "eventuate in the emancipation of the prole-tarians"56 through abolition of the market.

Marx and Engels conceived economic development, industrializa-tion, and modernization, in general, as part of an inevitable process of historical maturation that must necessarily involve all peoples and all parts of the globe. Because of its inevitability, they were indifferent about how economic growth and development might be achieved. They were even prepared to grant that the policies recommended by protectionists like Hamilton and List might be recommended in some circumstances. In various places Marx and Engels spoke of the United States, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and China, together with some of the colonized terri-tories, as making recourse to all the strategies recommended by List in order to transform traditional economies into those that were industri-ally advanced.57

Marx understood List's system as an effort to establish "manufacture upon a large scale in any given country." While prepared to grant as much, he went on to argue that whatever the intention, the "national system" of development, by fostering industry, would ultimately drive the developing community into the world market - to engage the same reality of social revolution faced by nations that had achieved industri-alization without the benefits of protectionism.58 Engels had made es-sentially the same argument as early as 1845.59 ...

Like List, Sun Yat-sen conceived the critical challenge of the modern world to be the industrialization and modernization of retrograde econo-mies. Like List, he understood the most appropriate vehicle for industrialization and modernization to be the nation - and the most efficacious tool for the implementation of a developmental program the revolution-ary, interventionist state. More important than that, perhaps, was the fact that Sun Yat-sen, like Friedrich List, conceived the medium in which all this might transpire to be a market-based productive system. What-ever "socialism" there was to be in an industrializing and modernizing national economy, it was to be predicated on the prevailing domestic and international market system.

After a century and a half of disappointed expectation, false starts, lost opportunities, tragic costs, failed enterprise, and shattered illusions, the "Marxists" of contemporary China are searching for a developmen-tal alternative to the flawed Maoism they have abandoned. It cannot be found in the recommendations of dependency theorists who urge the abandonment of market modalities and "delinking" from international capitalism. The core of present developmental policy in China is its de-pendency on the recreation of an effective market and the traffic of goods, technology, skills, and investment with the advanced capitalist economies.

A new developmental policy cannot be found in the wistful vision of a nonmarket cooperative "proletarian internationalism." China's current program of development is rooted in the firm soil of Chinese national-ism. It cannot be socialist in any traditional Marxist sense because the essentials of both a competitive market and private property have made their reappearance in the course of present reforms. More and more, contemporary China is beginning to look like the China anticipated by Sun Yat-sen.

It was H. W. Arndt who recently reminded us that it was Sun Yat-sen's program for the economic development of China that "more than anything else written before 1939, anticipated post-1945 thinking," and that it was Sun who "was almost certainly the first to advocate eco-nomic development in something like the modern sense and use of the term,"61 More than any Marxist old or new, Sun spoke to issues critical to an economically backward but emergent China. That has become in-creasingly apparent to everyone - including China's last Marxists. ...

{Endnote 121 to chapter 6: H. W. Arndt, Economic Development: The History of an Idea (Chicago, 111.: University of Chicago, 1987), 16.}


Sun Yat-sen

In October 1992, an editorial in the Far Eastern Economic Review opined that:

By now the "Taiwanese miracle" in economics has almost graduated into a cliche: the world's 14th largest trader, with foreign reserves topping U.S.$86 billion and a per capita income that at U.S.$8,813 is more than 25 times that of the mainland. Less well known, and completely unpredicted by most of the world's China "experts," has been a political revolution of historical proportions: the transformation of Taiwan into the world's first real Chinese democracy.... Unfortunately, Taiwan's splendid achievements have thus far gone largely unnoted and unrewarded.

The account concluded with the affirmation that Taiwan - the Re-public of China - has become an "indispensable beacon" for a "new China."1 As the Marxist People's Republic of China on the mainland thrashes about for a new developmental strategy and a new sustaining ideology, the Republic of China on Taiwan concludes its trajectory of growth and development - informed by the ideas of Sun Yat-sen.

There is no longer much resistance to the suggestion that the "miracle" on Taiwan received its inspiration and much of its substance from the thought of Sun.2 While Maoism, as a developmental strategy, was being dismantled on the mainland of China, on Taiwan Shih Chien-sheng maintained that it was Sun Yat-sen's "principle of the people's liveli-hood {minsheng zhuyi]" that served as "the cornerstone" for the rapid industrialization and economic modernization of the Republic of China.3 ...

Having escaped to Hawaii while still a child, Sun was overwhelmed by the accomplishments of the Western "barbarians." He recognized the evident material abundance of industrial capitalism, the attendant mer-its of law and public order, the advantages of meeting social wants through impersonal institutions, and stood in awe of the power embodied in machine production. He came to deplore the backwardness and corrup-tion of China - a sentiment that found expression in his intense opposi-tion to the oppressive Manchu dynasty that ruled his homeland. The overthrow of the Manchu and the introduction of Western law and in-dustry became the motives that drove his revolutionary activity.8

Wittfogel argued that Sun's program appealed to the rising domestic bourgeoisie. For Sun, the rule of law offered the protection of property without which enterprise would prove fruitless. Despotic rule and law-lessness not only exacted its toll from the peasantry and the defenseless, it hobbled initiative and economic growth. Thus, while the secret societ-ies - composed of elements of the lower classes - lent their support to Sun, the involvement of the "better classes" provided the funding that made revolutionary activity possible. The emerging bourgeoisie found a spokesman in Sun.9

Wittfogel made a case typical of those advanced by Marxists. He reminded his readers that the intellectuals who gathered around Sun were almost invariably the sons of merchants, bankers, officials, and wealthy landlords, as though intellectuals might originate elsewhere. The overseas Chinese who advanced funds were almost all merchants and petty businessmen, as though alternative sources were easily avail-able - or that Marxists would never accept funds from such donors. In effect, and according to Wittfogel, Sun's movement and its sustaining ideology were bourgeois in inspiration, membership, and intention. According to Wittfogel, its bourgeois character was underscored by Sun's rejection of one of the most critical elements of Marxism: the inevitability of class struggle. ...

Are there any American scholars who are embarking on this same course? Who's finding out how and WHY the United States quit using the American National System? What caused our government to turn away from the political and economic system that made our nation so prosperous in the first fifty years of its existence?

When did the U.S. federal government assume power over trade between the citizens of each individual free state? The feds were only allowed to regulate commerce between the individual free states and to make treaties for trade with foreign merchants. The original American system was designed to protect local traders. It promoted a balance between industry and agriculture and real ways to provide real loans to start-up real businesses that supplied essential local needs. List shows us what happens when a nation shuts down imperialist free trade and cheaply produced (slave labor) imports. Citizens step up and immediately begin filling the gaps. They start making and producing necessary things. They rebuild their local economy from within.

Somehow the American idea of freedom got twisted into promoting a "balance" between individual, local traders and the global free market corporate community. Is Lyndon LaRouche the only American who bases his FDR New Deal political platform on List?

Should Taiwan's success story be an inspiration to Americans living with the loss of our manufacturing and agricultural balance? There's a reason why the communitarian government wants to train everyone to get a "job." God forbid anyone here should want to open a business and provide a local product or service! How utterly absurd!


tapsearcher said...

There is a new "ism" that is merging many of the others into one. It is called Globalism.

The first question to ask now is this. Who said we had to compete like this with one another in a global economic arena?

Free Trade and Globalization have not evolved in any normal fashion but have been driven by powerful forces outside the will of the people.

The Rational Com explores philosophy and religion or the lack of it in the global economic arena and calls workers and labor the "stepchildren" of these disciplines.

See and http:/

Lark said...

Here-here, Niki! My goodness, I do believe you've stumbled across an important noble truth.

The best job I ever had in my life was the very first one I had when I was nine years old.

Living in Bossier City, Louisiana, at the time, my dad was stationed at Barksdale AFB, the HQ for SAC 2nd AF. The 1400 sf ranch-style home we lived in was made from recycled exterior brick and had faux columns out front so that it resembled an antebellum mansion. The officers families lived in two-story, faux Tudor mansions so that most folks would know which house contained an enlisted man's family, and which housed the officers' families. The suburban housing subdivision just outside one of the base's four security gates was almost exclusively military. And it was one of three or four subdivisions stuck smack dab in the middle of a mature, hundred-year-old pecan tree grove.

Between our newer subdivision, Bellaire, and the much older Shady Grove, was an undeveloped tract of the old grove where Bob and I would go squirrel hunting with our friends and such, or practiced shooting our 60's vintage BB guns and toy slingshots... riding the hell out of our spyder bikes... on our own.

Every holiday season Mom would buy pecans from the base commissary, and I remember asking whatever for. It seems the pecan trees' - that most everyone had at least one of... either in their yard, or one's branches were shading it - might be too dangerous to eat, or something like that.

But heck, us neighborhood kids - we didn't care one whit what our moms and dads did for a living - ate those pecans every year. And we were just as spry and full of mischief as ever, succumbing only to the occasional flu bug once in a while.

Why couldn't my little brother and me just scoop up those delicious pecans ourselves... place them in small brown paper bags... write 25 cents on each one with a black Magic Marker... and sell those 'perfectly fine' ripe pecans door-to-door?

This might not seem like a big deal, but I can tell you this, Niki: We were the richest 8- and 9- year-old little kids for miles around! ;)

And neither one of us ever wanted to be 'employed' by someone else ever since.

Bobby Garner said...

Niki, you asked if Lyndon LaRouche was the only American to base his political platform on List.

LaRouche appears to stand alone. He is stubborn and tenacious. He is condemned by all political parties, although he does find some support among the Democrats. He is neither liberal, conservative, progressive or libertarian. He is diametrically opposed to Agenda 21's main goal of sustainable development. He has been calling for a New Breton Woods, and a return to FDR's New Deal platform for many years. He is a socialist, but it appears to be his own brand albeit he identifies with FDR, and traces his ideas back to the same common Platonic source as all other brands of socialism. He also links it to the earliest Christians as reported in the Gospel accounts.

These are some of the apparent contradictions that define Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. To understand LaRouche and resolve the contradictions, we must view the world from his vantage point which seems to be better grounded in real history, not the school textbook variety, but taking into account that there are consequences to every action, and lessons to be learned therefrom. LaRouche's argument is logical, well reasoned, and sound, but he is a socialist. He is a staunch defender of human life at the potential expense of everything else which seriously offends the Gaia worshipers. He represents the very cream of the old established, and quickly passing order, all the things we fondly recall about better times, and what might have been, or as Merrill Haggard wrote, "the good ol' days when times were bad", but when hope sprang eternal. But he is a socialist, and has no qualms about enlisting "forced draft" labor to build national infrastructure. I imagine the Great Pyramids might have been constructed that way.

LaRouche's ideas for increased population density fly in the face of sustainable development, but they are based on continuous and unlimited technological development which we have recently shown to be the path to the Singularity, and Transtopian Transhumanism. All out support for life based on technology at the expense of quality of life ultimately leads to cyborg machines connected to transhuman brains with a test tube reproductive system.

Putting this all into a perspective which makes sense to me, the old established order is passing away along with all its underdeveloped and unrealized potential, and the new order which we already see replacing it is a counterfeit of something completely unknown to the progeny of Adam and Eve.

The Bible records that God said, "fill the earth and subdue it" having in subjection all other forms of life. He did not suggest over populating at the expense of all other life, and turning into cyborgs to make ourselves compatible with the hostile conditions of life on Mars.

the tent lady said...

Thanks tapsearcher. That "powerful force" you mention that drives the push for Globalism has a name. :)

I'm reading your site now. I'm down to the part about the Marshall Plan being an extraordinary success. I'm wondering if you know the Club of Rome wrote a new Marshall Plan for the US? I'll keep reading and go to the rational site too. Nice work!

Oh Lark, I always hire the kind of little boy you describe.. they are the most fun and serious too. I had a babysitter once who was 9 yrs old. she brought her 13 year old dippy sister along because at 13 she was the "legal" sitter.

We wonder all the time what America would be like if there were no communitarians and no struggle to build a global collective. How many of our friends would be successful in a authentic American system?

Bobby, thanks for that on LaRouche. I became suspicious of him when his newsletter suggested a UN solution. Anton Chaitkin tried to convince me that shouldn't matter to me, that LaRouche had a good reason for it.

Is there any evidence that the original US National System used forced volunteerism to build up the new national infrastructure? That would be interesting to know.

Sometimes I think living in Alaska is good training for life on the moon. Maybe living along the Y2Y Wilderness Corridor is preparation for life on Mars. I wish I'd never seen all those Alien movies now.

lynmarcus said...

Larouche is not an economist , historian, scientist or statesmen but a multi decade cult leader and convicted criminal who was sent to prison in the 1980s for hijacking over 30 million dollars from people who thought that he was a legitimate person.

Larouche has been a socialist, communist, Christian, left/right winger, pro Russian, anti Russian and anything else you can imagine to sucker people to his delusions.

For over 40 years he has been running a cult of endless economic collapse, New Dark Ages and Nuclear war to recruit enough naive colege kids to drop out of school and support him. His cult skips many labor laws as he has them called "volunteers" and has them running like hamsters 18 hours a day, 7 days a week with one crisis after another.

Larouche's cult has dwindled to almost nothing but college kids with issues who drop out of school and a few dozen near 60 year old cult members who have no place to go. Larouche is in his late 80s and the cult is spending whatever last breaths it has on trying to fool people into thinking that he is a world class genius.

Beleive me, we can make ourselves into anything we need to get you to open up your wallets and feed Larouche's lifestyle. He has had a cult in one incarnation or another which just repeats the same apocolyptic formula over and over till they get burned out.

Whjatever material which seems OK will always be wrapped around his delusions eventually.

You can read about how this charade is run on sites like: under discussions where there are over 6K posts from former members about this lunacy.

BY now, the cult's boiler room should have called you to take out 5 K loans for his self named LarouchePAC to save humanity.

This is a bum who had the anti semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion placed in his propaganda.

Bobby Garner said...

LaRouche was a political prisoner convicted on trumped up charges. They were forced to release him on appeal. Maybe lynmarcus sat on the Jury in that court.

LaRouche stands alone in forecasting the present ongoing systemic collapse of banking and finance and its implications for civilized society. He is certainly not an economist of the textbook variety who were blindsided by this tragedy, but he is an economist who sees Plato's Republic in the Preamble to our Constitution, while willing to ignore the Constitution itself along with the Bill of Rights.

The difference in lynmarcus' opinion of LaRouche and my own is his bitter hatred as opposed to my cool analysis. He is not denying the very reality of the result which LaRouche knew could not be avoided. He is denying LaRouche's ability to understand these processes and the credibility of his forecasts.

Maybe lynmarcus chooses not to believe in the ability of a single human mind to forecast this collapse, but lynmarcus knows better, because LaRouche's mind functions exactly like his own. Why would he do that? Because he believes that the collective Will, if expressed often enough and with sufficient conviction, is capable of destroying the idea which LaRouche expressed in terms of the end of our civilization as the only possible outcome to the moral insanity which produced this result.

It is believed by some that an Ostrich pokes his head into the sand in order to deny the obvious. I believe the story is metaphor.