The new economics of design

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By ELIAS JABBOUR*

The premises of the necessary intellectual framework to understand the Chinese socio-economic formation

Ever since I abandoned consolidated and dated theories of economic development in favor of the concept of socio-economic formation, I began to enjoy indescribable freedom. Outdated theories stifle analysis and can only deliver the “particular in general”. Economists today, as they believe that the theories are already there and that the important thing is to apply them well, are bumping into the limits of believing that by studying the relationship between the State and the market they can deliver something capable of understanding complex processes. This is the limit of economic heterodoxy and what makes it approach, in method, orthodoxy.

I explain. In this type of analysis, totality is largely displaced with an almost negation of politics and history. Among academic Marxists it does not and realizes that institutional changes have not only ensured the cyclical unwinding of bottlenecks in the economy; but also the emergence of new production relations via new contributions in the form of more and better regulation of work as well as average wage increases of 280% in the last ten years.

It does not prevent China from becoming even a less unequal society, but it demonstrates that the Chinese State has responded to the workers' demands with assertiveness. If it were a capitalist country, China could increase the competitiveness of its products by creating artificial unemployment of at least 10%…

Returning. Like any theory, this type of approach loses its meaning when qualitative changes arise, as they occur in China today. Hence the poverty of reducing the reforms that the Chinese economy is undergoing as a “regulatory wave”, “new frontiers of capital accumulation”. Nothing more static and microeconomic. In fact, what exists is a real movement generating new concepts. And I believe that deciphering the content of these new concepts is the greatest challenge facing the social sciences, as China raises a superior social engineering proven by the uncontested victory against the pandemic – exposing the ills of Western capitalism.

The realization that a new class of social formations was emerging in China freed me from the straitjackets of structuralist and developmentalist/developmental state theories. The universality of Vladimir Lenin's and Inácio Rangel's Marxism applied to a particular reality opened up possibilities yet to be widely explored. We were not taken aback by the current wave of institutional innovations.

We quickly realized the qualitative and different nature of what was happening. The contradiction between productive forces and relations of production reached another level. Class struggle. A “power bloc” vision should be a challenge in view of what the strength of more than 130 million urban workers means, yesterday peasants in the process of putting pressure on the Communist Party, guaranteeing the maintenance of a socializing strategy for the country.

The “New design economics” derived from the dynamics of “uneven development” mediated by waves of institutional innovations has been a fascinating discovery. The creation of the fastest quantum computer in the world is a decisive step in the construction of human freedom. The new design economy is synonymous with expanding the ability to plan, to elevate human dominance over nature and give human beings the possibility of being masters of their destiny.

I confess that it would be easier and more prestigious to learn some abstract and a priori concepts such as value, money, fetish, market and alienation and use them arbitrarily. This is intellectual comfort zone. It doesn't suit me. I prefer another path, perhaps heretical. Observing a totality between economic and social formation, mode of production, the meta mode of production (whoever reads China: Socialism in the XNUMXst Century will understand this concept) and the law of value as a whole.

Observing this totality together is something that, when moving, rearranges the logic of society's functioning, generating economic-social formation from new modes of production from combinations between different forms/relations of production and exchange. The results so far have been promising. A lot of skepticism from our interlocutors, but many people already using the intellectual framework built by us to build their own hypotheses about China. We are just at the beginning.

*Elias Jabbour He is a professor at the Graduate Programs in Economic Sciences and International Relations at UERJ. Author, among other books, of China Today – National Development Project and Market Socialism (Anita Garibaldi).

 

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