Currently the most populous country in the world, china is synonymous with communism. The extent to which Chinese leadership embraced the idea cannot be compared to any of the historically socialist states. Worth noting is the fact that communism, is an idea that relates to both the political and the social order in a country. The extent to which property and wealth is owned by the state makes the difference between communism and capitalism. The Chinese government, under the brutal and dictatorial leadership of such people as Mao Zedong, underwent socialism in the 20th century (French, 2007). Today, communism has no place in China, especially with regard to the economy. Much like China, North Korea, a close ally of the same is as well a communist state. Worth noting at this point is the fact that there is a big difference between socialism and capitalism. This is because, fundamentally, socialism is a transitional phase on the way to communism. The two words – communism and socialism – have been mistakenly taken for synonyms of each other. Talking of communism, there are so many differences between china and North Korea. Despite the differences, there are similarities as well.
The similarities in communism in North Korea and china in the 21st century
Perhaps the most notable similarity between the people’s republic of china and North Korea is that they both observe the theories of Karl Marx. The Marxist theories emphasize of resources. In straightforward terms, Marxism is all about the embracing of centralization of power and economic strength of a country. Marxism however emphasizes that there should be equality among the individuals under the system. As such, Marxism, being the central idea behind communism, advocates for a classless society. The theories of Karl Marx insist that in a communist state, there should be centralized control of resources and power, such no individual has more chances of being rich than the other. In china and North Korea, things have been as such since the late 1940s to this day. Much as the principles of Marxism have been weakened by western influence, the two countries remain significantly communist. Centralization of land ownership as well as political power has led to unreasonably powerful leaders rising to power. Such leaders have continually exploited the country and made unreasonable economic policies.
Arguably, the most notable similarity between Chinese and North Korean communism in the 21st century is the fact that they both observe such social aspects as Confucianism. The concept, which originated in china through such social aspects as Buddhism and ancient ethics, later penetrated the North Korean culture and still exists (Harding, 2008). The concept of Confucianism, which is centuries old, governs the way citizens and residents relate to one another in both china and North Korea. The relationships that exist among citizens and, between the citizens and the state, are governed by Confucianism in both china and Korea. While other nations have come up with various legal structures to govern the relationship that exists between an individual and another, as well as the relationship between the state and an individual, ethical perspectives of Buddhism and the principles Confucius govern the social orders of both china and North Korea.
The third similarity between communism in china and communism in North Korea today is the reality that in both situations, the political and social ideology has barred them from interacting with the international society for well over sixty years today. This has led to poor social and technological advancement. The fact, that communism emphasizes reserved tendencies and isolation from the international scene, has led to the poor performance of both China and North Korea in the global scene. Economists from the west argue that, had china taken up the idea of capitalism during the postwar period, it could have been, undoubtedly, the strongest economy in the world today. Considering that China is more populous than the current leading economy, the United States, it is worth believing the arguments and projections of the economists and analysts. Arguably, the devastated state of affairs in rural china and North Korea today is the result of communism. The technology that is coming up in the west may take a few decades to find its way into communist China and North Korea.
Much like China, North Korea is undergoing forceful opening up. The countries are being forced to open up to the west, despite the bitter rivalry between the east and the west over capitalism and socialism. Communism is characteristic of the east, with China, North Korea and the former Soviet Union topping the list (Walker & Dodd, 2001). On the contrary, the west has embraced capitalism for quite a long time. Apparently, capitalism has emerged as a stronger force compared to the communist system. Communism has not emerged successful after more than fifty years of trying. This explains why the communist countries have opened up to the west. Today, entrepreneurs from the west are moving to both china and North Korea in a bid to eliminate communism and prove to the people that the solution to the poverty levels as well as economic problems, is rooted in communism. The fact that capitalism embraces individual enterprises and private sector domination, contravenes Marxist theories, as capitalism endeavors to create classes in the society. Even so, the communist China and North Korea have started to, actively but reluctantly, buy the idea of communism. In other words, communism in both countries is on the decline.
In both countries, communism was a reaction to the second armed conflict of the world. Mao Zedong and Kim II-Sung were among the leaders that opposed the capitalism theories as the perspective was associated with the west. The relationship between the west and the communist east was bitter all through the cold war. It was because of this reason that, despite all the positive aspects of capitalism, the people’s republic of china and North Korea were not ready to adopt the idea. The system adopted by china was such that the leaders reasoned more politically than economically (Minxin & Pei, 2004). This caused the poverty menace in both North Korea and China. The situation has remained quite unchanged over the years, with China being a bit more liberal and open to change.
In the wake of the 21st century, both china and North Korea are coming to terms with the reality that communism is beaten by two primary factors – technology and human nature. Human nature is such that an individual will always seek to be as comfortable as possible despite the discomfort of others. This explains why the capitalist states are made up of many competing businesses which are privately owned. Traditionally, the key goal of business is profit maximization. The business owners seek to enrich themselves from the needs of others. As technology penetrates the Chinese and North Korean economies, people are endeavoring to use their own capacities to use the available resources to accumulate wealth for their own use and well being (Sutter, 2012). Human nature will always drive an individual towards self actualization. Such internal forces have taken over Chinese people to the extent that currently, just less than 5 percent of the Chinese people support communism. All other people in China, just like North Korea, are moving towards capitalism.
As the 21st century set in, the two nations embarked on serious restructuring of the economy. The restructuring efforts are concerned with changing the traditional perception of the ignorant and arrogant North Korean and Chinese leaders. The people wanted the country reconstructed in such a style that the government efforts be shifted from the political arena to the economic field. This means that the money and efforts were being pumped into the Chinese politics and defense functions be shifted to building the economy through promoting local entrepreneurs. As mentioned earlier on, the communist system focused a lot on the political aspect of the nations rather than the economic aspects (Scobell, 2005). Perhaps this is why North Korea and China are leading the list of those countries that spend heavily on the military and state defense. Today, China has the most navy controlled submarines. It has not been easy for people to understand why such a country as North Korea has to spend so much on external defense when the citizens are wallowing in poverty with very little food making it to the poor man’s table.
The communist governments in both North Korea are devising policies that are aimed at absolute elimination of the struggle between the social classes. The assumption that communism is about a classless society is just a theory. In practical world, there are so many classes within the economies of china and North Korea. In doing away with the classes, the governments seek to introduce the free enterprise system. The free enterprise system is a system of the economy that is referred to as a liberalized system. In this system, the private entrepreneurs and firm can start doing business any time after they have been licensed by the government (Ji, 2001). Such moves as the promotion of free enterprise have reduced the evils of communism significantly. For instance, the introduction of free venture has led to a drop in the unemployment level. People have managed to secure jobs within the established private firms. Additionally, people have employed themselves as entrepreneurs. Such employment has contributed greatly to government revenue in both countries through taxes and license fees.
The move to free enterprise, also known as open market has been associated with the move from agriculture and other elementary economic activities to technology. Today, china and Korea are among the best known for the production of technology. Much as people may dispute the quality of the Chinese products, the bottom line remains to be; China and Korea can produce and manufacture virtually everything. Today China produces virtually all things ranging from the iPad to vehicles. Perhaps the most important and significant technologies in china are telecommunication devices. The number of Chinese firms manufacturing phones for example, is considerably high (Scalapino & Lee, 2002). Such mobile phones are meant for expert as well as the local market. Considering that such reputable firms as Nokia and Apple Inc have invested in China and North Korea, it is worth concluding that the two communist giants are embracing positive change in moving towards capitalism, a more progressive system of running the economy as well as politics of a sate.
The differences between communism in North Korea and china in the 21st century
Much as there are many similarities between the two communists’ republics, there are so many similarities that characterize the two nations’ economic and political systems. The first difference is the fact that unlike Korea, China has been much liberal all through the extreme communism period after the war. This has enabled the country to attain economic development and tremendous growth compared to North Korea. At the onset of the 21st century, the people’s republic of china indicated signs of tending towards capitalism. The people of china embraced western ideas at a very high rate. The major reason behind such motivation was technology. Technology was a motivating factor in the sense it proved to be a considerably lucrative trade in the west. Additionally, the issue of technology could easily be managed in China where people were so much into engineering and other science oriented disciplines at the higher learning institutions.
Perhaps the most notable difference between North Korea and china with regard to this is the fact that the political system of china had become more flexible. Today, the people of china are motivated to work towards attaining maximal economic growth and development. The major reason behind china’s undeterred growth is the fact that contrary to common belief, the country has tremendous potential. On the contrary, the people of Korea are not motivated at all. They still wait for the centralized systems to provide for their socio-economic needs. This has widened the gap between the rich ruling class and the poor working class in North Korea (Son, 2006). The economy is so strained by the principles of Marxism that achieving better living standards for the average citizen is becoming hard by the day, as the international society moves towards globalization.
Another notable difference between economic and political communism in china and North Korea in the 21st century is the fact that the economic structure of china is tending towards reducing the gap between the wealthy and the have-nots. The opposite is true for North Korea. The Chinese systems have been liberalized in such a way that they encourage creativity within the economy (Oh & Hassig, 2000). Anyone that has an idea relating to economic growth and development can commit funds and other resources into business ventures that can benefit both the entrepreneur and the society. The Chinese government, in its endeavors to reduce the rift between the rich and the destitute, has liberalized the economy in such a way that those that are able and willing to invest can commit funds to the prospective ventures. This way, economists argue, the entrepreneurs will be in a good position to offer remarkable job opportunities to the high population of unemployed members of the society.
In Korea, the government remains the one most significant employer in the economy. This way, the poor jobless people remain to be poor and the rich continue accumulating wealth. This way, development becomes difficult since the standards of living remain low and the quality of life remains devastated. The economic development, being a qualitative rather than quantitative progression, cannot be achieved without there being a stable private sector that has significantly determines the economy (Lansford, 2007). The private sector, according to economic thinkers, tends to challenge the current state of affairs. On the contrary, the public sector seeks to protect the status quo. With the status quo, a country like North Korea should not expect to become developed any time soon.
The Chinese political systems have started embracing democracy to such an extent that their leadership is a model set of a balanced team. Worth noting is the reality that the number of females in the legislative body of china is bigger than the number of women in the legislative assembly of North Korea not only in real terms but also as a ratio (Harding, 2008). This is a great step ahead for China considering that its political system is changing to become better than those in developed economies. Worth noting is the fact that China’s leadership is more liberal and civilized than such developed nations as the United States. Currently, analysts argue that China is a threat to the superpower prestige held by the United States considering that since the beginning of the 21st century, the Chinese external debt is billions of dollars lower held in comparison to that of the U.S. This, in the view of economists, is a sign of good governance and self reliance.
The transition from communism to capitalism is not rough road for china since the country is well equipped with resources and the necessary factors of production. Such factors as labor, capital and natural resources are considerably plenty in China. Being the most populous republic in the world, labor is not a problem since many people are unemployed. Even so, there has been a great reduction in the number of absolutely unemployed people in the republic of china. As from the year 2000, the rate of unemployment has been reducing drastically such that currently, by percentage, the number of unemployed people in the republic of china is lower compared to North Korea (Schwartz, 2008). This is so mainly because the republic of china has opened up the economy. The open economy also referred to as liberal economy encourages the growth and expansion of the private sector. An economy, such as that of North Korea, where the administration is the only key player, cannot foster development.
In conclusion, the similarities in the economic and political communist principles in China and North Korea are many. From the forgoing, it is quite plainly observable that the similarities between the two nations revolve around the fact that they are both founded on Marxism. Such Marxism gives all powers of ownership and control to the government. This way, the private sector gets overlooked and cannot determine the future of a country. Arguably, the differences between the economic and political situations in North Korea and China revolve around the fact that China, unlike North Korea has taken significant steps towards liberalizing the economy and embracing democracy. Worth noting is the reality that communist Korea has not fully accepted the western capitalism and is still a strong believer of communism. Even so, they are gradually letting go of the socio-economic order. It is for this point that analysts have argued that the difference between China and North Korea is the fact that China is embracing change at a faster rate.
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