Yang Chengxun: Theoretical Origin of Working Together to Build an “Open World Economy”: Practical implications of Lenin’s comments on adapting to and taking advantage of “global economy”

2020-12-01 18:14:00 | Author:Yang Chengxun | Source:Marxism and Reality, No 2, 2020

Abstract: Xi Jinping put forward the principles of working together for an “ innovative, inclusive and open world economy” at the first international import expo. Such viewpoint is a further development of the marxist theory of world economy, one of the important origin of which is Lenin’s exposition on the adaptation and utilization of the world economy and socialist countries. It was first put forward by Lenin that socialist countries should make good use of the economic, technological and civilized achievements of the capitalist world. Xi jinping’s thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era has further developed these fundamental views and strategies.

Key words: world economy; Opening wider to the outside world; Economic globalization; Unity of principle and flexibility; Overcome isolated mindset


        At the first China International Import Expo in 2018, Xi Jinping clearly put forward the view and strategies of “jointly building an innovative, inclusive and open world economy ”, which not only has global practical significance, but also has profound theoretical significance, and should be considered as a reference to Marxist world economic theory. Reflecting back on the history, the argument that socialist countries should fully value and make most of the world economy is an initial systematic statement made by Lenin on the basis of Marx and Engels’ expositions after the October Revolution. Reviewing Lenin’s exposition provides us with deeper understanding of the historical origins and profound connotations for a wider open wolrd economy, and unilateralism and protectionism as well.

Lenin’s Comments on the formation and application of “World Economy”

As Xi mentioned, “people with vision in the world would agree that economic globalization, as an irreversible trend of history, has greatly boosted global growth. This is an overarching trend, something that is independent of people’s will. What we mankind can do is to understand, adapt to, and apply the law of history instead of trying to prevent it from happening. The wheel of history, indeed, will keep rolling forward no matter what”[1].

The term “world economy” was first proposed by Leninas a scientific category. After the October Revolution, when Lenin called for the implementation of a concession system for foreign capitalist investment, he specifically pointed out: “We consciously emphasize the significance of world economy. This concept is undoubtedly correct. To restore the world economy, Russian raw materials must be used.” “We often say that we want to build the world on a reasonable economic basis. This is undoubtedly correct. There is no doubt that if modern machines are used well, then science can help. The entire world economy can be restored quickly”[2]. “We are not alone in the world. We are a member of the world economy, living in the system of capitalist countries”.[3]

The so-called concept of world economy is to highlight the closeness and integrity of international economic ties. Lenin has made a vivid statement in a conversation with foreign journalists. He said: “Russia’s current economic destruction is only one aspect of the world economic destruction. Economic problems are hardly to solve if taking from merely the perspective of individual countries or some countries rather than an international perspective. Europe could not regain its vitality without Russia. And when Europe weakens, the situation in the United States will become critical.”[4] Such interdependence was objectively shaped with the law of the increased socialization, and it will not shift by social systems and ideologies.

Back in the 1840s, Marx and Engels also stated the process of world economic ties. “The bourgeoisie has opened up the world market. The production and consumption of all countries have become global accordingly.” The bourgeoisie, by “the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.” [5] In other words, there was already a world market at that time, countries in the world had already had extensive contacts, and the socialization of production had expanded through half of the world. However, at that time, the world was still in the era of scattered occupation, scattered dumping, and colonial grabbing, and an integrated world economy had not yet taken the shape. In the era of advanced capitalist commodity economy, that is, the era of imperialism, the world economy has developed into an integrated system. Countries and regions are closely interconnected and cannot be separated or isolated from two aspects: Competition and contradictions have become more fierce interdependent; They are increasingly interdependent with each other, any slight change would affect the whole state. Although both era have market economy as the foundamental economic system, quantitative changes have caused qualitative changes. According to Lenin, it has the following characteristics.

First, form a world-wide capital governance. “Capital has become international and monopolistic.”[6] Its outstanding feature is that capital export plays a leading role. “For the old capitalism in which free competition took the dominant role, the typical characteristics is the export of commodities. For the latest capitalism dominated by the monopoly, the typical characteristics is the export of capital.”[7] Meaning that capital, as the key link of international connections, has replaced the dominant position of the commodity exchange connection in physical form, enhancing the international economy connection and flow, and promoting the integration of international division of labor.

Second, “this is a new and much higher stage of the concentration of capital and production throughout the world.”[8] Large-scale monopolies have replaced free competition. Very few capitalists can sometimes take certain industrial sectors in their own hands; these industrial sectors are typically transferred to the hands of international cartels, syndicates, trusts and other coalition organizations. Therefore. Monopoly capitalists not only in individual countries, but also in the world, in terms of finance, property rights, and partly in production, they control the entire industrial sector.”[9] If competition in the old capitalist era was mainly between individual enterprises, then in this period it was mainly between large groups, high-level competition between monopolistic organizations, including competition for raw material origin and range of power. In this way, the process of mergers, alliances, and “participatory system” was expanded world wide. Multinational companies with financial capital as the pillar broke international boundaries and became a worldwide economic organization.

Third, financial capital dominates countries and regions, and is integrated worldwide. Financial capital dominates the world and forms the axis of world economic life with its unique advantages. “The dense network of financial capital can indeed be said to cover the whole world.” “It covers the whole country, bring together all capital and currency income, turning thousands of dispersed economies into a unified national capitalist economy, and further become a worldwide capitalist economy”.[10] Its turnover is way faster and much closer than that of thecommodity circulation.

Fourth, the productive forces are highly developed and socialized, and all countries and regions are included in the web of world division of labor. In particular, the densely distributed transportation and communication networks have brought more convenient transportation and speed up information delivery, which has shifted the economic space of various countries. Meanwhile, the division of labor has broken national boundaries and formed international interdependence. As Lenin claimed, “To restore the world economy, we must use Russian raw materials. It will not work without Russian raw materials. This is economically correct” [11]. He later argued: “Bourgeois countries need to do business with Russia, because they know that without this and that kind of economic ties, they will continue to collapse as before.”[12]. Similarly, Lenin also emphasized that Russia cannot do without the world. At that time, the well-known bourgeois economist Keynes (author of The Economic Consequences of the Peace), American financial magnate Wandlip, etc. pointed out that there were too few raw materials and thus they all need Russia. If said in current words, there is a shortage of resources, and countries around the world are intercomplementary with each other. Moreover, the rapid development of science and technology has further strengthened the world's intercomplementarity.

Fifth, the imbalance between economic and political development has become more prominent. The leapfrog development of some developed countries has caused countries to continuously re-ranking, various economic and political forces are constantly recombined, and the unity and opposition between countries have developed in a staggered manner. Contradictions unfold at a high level in a constantly changing form, and even a world war breaks out. At the same time, they also create some weak links that can be used by the people’s revolution. Lenin attached great importance to the status and role of the colonies, semi-colonies and the dependent countries. He believed that “the East has finally joined the revolutionary movement and finally involved in the total vortex of the world's revolutionary movement”[13].

Overall, the world economic characteristics of the developed market economy are prominently manifested as: first, distorted priorities; second, unity and contradictions coexists. The so-called “distorted priorited” refers to the upside down the order of social reproduction. Production determines circulation, and circulation determines finance, turning into financial dominating circulation and circulation dominating production. As Lenin said in On Imperialism, “Capitalism has developed to such an extent that although commodity production still takes a ‘dominant position’ and is still regarded as the basis of all economies, it has actually been destroyed. Most of the profits are taken away by those ‘geniuses’ that are involved in financial activities. The basis of such financial activities and deception is the socialization of production. The huge progress of socialization of production achieved by mankind through hardships has benefited... …Speculators.” [14] The so-called parallel advancement of unity and contradictions means that even if the economy is moving towards integration, it is full of contradictions, forming a system in which unity and contradictions interact at a high level. The laws of the developed market economy are more and more fully manifested in intricate forms around the world.

From the perspective of the development process of the market economy, the development of the world market promotes the formation of a unified world economy. When capitalism opened up the world market, it could not be called the world economy (or just beginning to develop). Capitalism cannot develop without the world market.

Lenin’s remarrks on imperialism or the stage of monopoly capitalism (ie, capitalist developed market economy), roughly summarized the characteristics of the world economy from the 1870s to the first half of the 20th century. With the deveopment of over half a century, productivity has become more characterized by global socialization, that is, economic globalization has formed. As Xi Jinping pointed out: “We live at a time with an overwhelming trend toward openness and connectivity.  The world has become a global village where our interests are intertwined and our economic and social progress interconnected. To promote common prosperity and development in today’s world, we have no choice but to pursue greater connectivity and integrated development. ”[15]

The Irreversibility and Flexible Forms in Making Use of Global Economy for Socialist Countries


The foreign economic policy theory of socialist countries is an important content of Lenin’s theory of commodity economy. Like all Marxist theories, it is gradually produced, formed and developed with the development of society. When Marx and Engels founded the theory of scientific socialism, he was in the era of under-developed capitalist commodity economy. At that time, his thinking was based on the common victory of socialism in Europe, making it impossible to raise the issue of the economic relationship between socialist countries and capitalist countries. The theory of capitalist world trade they argued can be used as a reference for socialist countries, but it is not yet a theory of socialist countries opening to the outside world. In the era of imperialism, especially after the outbreak of the First World War, Lenin scientifically discovered the law of the unbalanced economic and political development of imperialism, creatively put forward the theory that socialism can win victory in one country first, and guided Russia. The October Revolution was victorious. Lenin's “imperialist theory” and “one country victory theory” are the theoretical premises of his series of expositions on the foreign policy of socialist countries. In practice, it was after a country first achieved the victory of socialism that a world where two systems and two types of countries coexist emerged, and it was also the issue of the relationship between the two types of countries in politics, economy, and culture. Of course, the proposal and perfection of this theory is not the product of pure theoretical derivation either, rather, the call from practice, and gradually formed and systemized in practice.

Practically speaking, once the proletariat gains power, it will directly face the issue of how to deal with other countries, especially capitalist countries, and it needs to immediately formulate its own foreign policy. On the second day of the October Revolution (November 8, 1917), Lenin personally drafted the "Peace Decree", clearly proposing to establish peaceful relations with other capitalist countries. At the beginning of 1918, starting from the actual situation of the disparity between the enemy and ourselves, he adopted a flexible strategy and resisted all opinions and decisively signed the Brest Peace Treaty. Before and after, on the issue of peace treaties, he started a debate with the “left communists” who refused to have any relations with capitalist countries.He believes that, “from the time when the socialist government wins in a country” and considering its connection with world imperialism, “we can only proceed from the most favorable conditions for the development and consolidation of the socialist revolution that has already begun.” [16] He mocked the "Left" whimsical theory: "According to this view, the Socialist Republic among the imperialist powers cannot conclude any economic treaties. If it does not fly to the moon, it cannot survive.”[17] He severely refuted the so-called "forcibly promoting" revolutions in the world and other countries and opposing peaceful development. He clearly pointed out: "Marxism has always denied the "forcible promotion" of revolutions, because revolutions have become increasingly acute with the class contradictions that produce revolution And developed.”[18] Then, during the “temporary respite” period, he proposed to introduce advanced technology from capitalist countries, hire foreign experts with high salaries, and prepare to implement a state monopoly in foreign trade. He said: “Whether socialist construction is possible depends on whether we can continue During the transitional period, we should pay some tribute to foreign capital to protect our domestic economic independence." [19]After 1920, the Soviet Union and Russia successively concluded economic agreements with some capitalist countries and gradually started foreign trade. However, the real development is still in the period of New Economic Policy. An important change in this process is that the expectation of revolutions in other capitalist countries has been estimated to be longer, so that foreign economic policies have been paid more attention and gradually systemized.

Lenin’s many expositions reveal the objective necessity of economic and technological exchanges between socialist countries and capitalist countries, refute the narrow “patriotism” of self-reliance, and emphasize that socialist countries should make good use of these exchanges and connections. Taken together, the necessity and possibility of such exchanges and contacts are determined by the following aspects.

(1) The developed market economy has become a prominent feature of the world economy. The ancient and medieval worlds were characterized by isolation and seperation. Although there were sporadic exchanges between countries, they could not form organic links economically. After entering the era of capitalism, especially the era of imperialism, the economies of various countries are interdependent. Lenin repeatedly explained this economic dependence among countries. He believes, “There is a power that surpasses the wishes, will and decisions of any government or class that is hostile to us. This power is the common economic relationship of the world. It is this relationship that compels them to follow this link with us.” [20] . The so-called “common economic relations of the world” refers to the development of productivity beyond the scope of a country, bringing about the development of social division of labor and cooperation worldwide, and forming a developed commodity economy based on socialized mass production. It is impossible for any country to produce all the products it needs (like a self-sufficient natural economy), let alone possess all the resources needed for production. Therefore, Russia is bound to be “subjected” to the international market and “has continuous contact with it.” In April 1922, Lenin indicated in a conversation with a reporter from the New York Herald: “Russia needs to do business with bourgeois countries. On the other hand, the bourgeois governments of various countries are also very clear that without Russia, European economic life is impossible. Adjust well.” Therefore, in terms of foreign economic policy, “we highlight the significance of the world economy”. [21]

(2) The law of unbalanced economic and political development also determines that countries that are economically backward in the socialist revolution will win first and have relations with other capitalist countries. On the one hand, Lenin believed that "since large-scale industry exists worldwide, it is undoubtedly possible to directly transition to socialism." On the other hand, he also pointed out, "We have joined the revolution when the country is backward, so there is no developed industry that we need." [22] The first victorious socialist country is politically advanced and economically backward; while the big capitalist countries coexisting with socialist countries are politically backward and economically advanced. This sharp contradiction has increased the difficulty of socialist economic construction. To resolve this contradiction, apart from taking advantage of the political and production relations advantages within the socialist countries and relying on the enthusiasm of their own people for self-reliance in construction, we must also make good use of international industrial technology. This is an important point that Lenin has repeatedly emphasized since the October Revolution. In the article "The Current Tasks of Soviet Power", he pointed out: "Whether socialism can be realized depends on how well we combine Soviet power and Soviet management organizations with the latest advances in capitalism.”[23] At that time, he proposed a famous formula: "Be willing to absorb good things from foreign countries: Soviet power + Prussian railway order + American technology and trust organizations + American national education, etc. + + = sum = socialism.”[24]. During the Civil War, he proposed in the article "To American Workers" that we should try to obtain the help of the more technologically advanced countries for Soviet Russia.[25] Since then, when talking about the realization of the all-Russian electrification plan, he repeatedly emphasized the use of foreign technology, equipment and funds, saying that “without the help of foreign capital and means of production, we cannot implement this plan soon.” [26]. He also called for the use of the latest capitalist technology to improve the country's enterprises. “The socialist republic cannot survive in connection with different worlds. Under the current circumstances, it should link its own existence with the relationship between capitalism.” [27]

(3) Under very difficult economic conditions, the use of foreign capital is one of the important means to get rid of the crisis. At that time, Soviet Russia suffered a devastating economic destruction due to the 7-year war, and Lenin described it as "a beggar who was beaten all over." In order to get rid of the predicament as soon as possible and improve the people's living conditions, we should actively seek some foreign aid. He believes: "Before the revolution (referring to the world revolution-the initiator), the capital of the bourgeoisie was beneficial to us. When our country is still extremely weak economically, how can we accelerate economic development? ? That is to use capital of the bourgeoisie.”[28] He added: “Does it now have to present the task like this: In view of the great danger of the Soviet regime’s collapse due to economic destruction and backwardness, backwardness and the danger of not being able to catch up, it can only put forward the task like this: to catch up with the aid of joint foreign capital? ... If If it can be resolved in five years, that is a great victory. This is the way to ask questions practically, not naively.” [29] In order to relieve the suffering of the people, “as long as the living conditions of workers and peasants can be improved, we will not hesitate to allow foreign capitalists to take away 2000% of the profits” [30] Until the end of 1922, Lenin still insisted on this view: “It is impossible to recover the economy quickly without foreign capital participating in the development of our country's economy.” [31]

(4) The contradictions between imperialists and various economic groups have created conditions that can be used by socialist countries. Monopoly capitalism did not eliminate competition, but intensified competition among them in a new form on a larger scale, creating and intensifying a series of contradictions. “We defeated the world bourgeoisie in the past because the world bourgeoisie could not unite.” [32] As long as we make good use of this contradiction, we can bring economic benefits to socialist countries. “Our only goal is to use capitalists’ greedy for profits and the hostile relationship between trusts and trusts in the siege of capitalism to create conditions for the survival of the socialist republic.” [33]

Based on the above analysis, Lenin advocated actively carrying out foreign economic relations and implementing an independent, equal and mutually beneficial foreign economic policy that is active and flexible. He put forward an important foreign economic strategy thought at the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of Russia: “For us, it is very necessary for us to carry out this kind of alliance with the state trusts of other advanced countries.”[34] He opposed the idea of shutting down the country and blindly xenophobic sentiments, and dismissed remarks such as “We are invincible in the world” and “We can drown foreigners by spitting out” as nonsense, and said: “This The more nonsense is put on the cloak of'pure communism', the more dangerous it is.”[35] He pointed out: “If we do not implement the concession policy, or not abandon prejudice, patriotism or the guild’s patriotism, we could not put forward solutions for improving the economic situation.”[36]

When Lenin studied the use of the international market, an important starting point was to activate the domestic market, make up for its shortcomings, and maintain its stability. In his view, the international market and the domestic market are two distinct and interconnected markets. The socialist domestic market is guided by state plans (regulation of commerce) and can be controlled and controlled by the state; the international market cannot be controlled and controlled by one country. It is a market without plan guidance. But these two markets influence each other. Under capitalist conditions, the international market often communicates with the domestic market more directly, while socialist countries can control the direct influence of the international market into an indirect influence, but in any case The impact is always there. How socialist countries recognize and use this influence plays an important role in ensuring economic regulation, activating the domestic market, and promoting industrial and agricultural production. Regarding this issue, Lenin made many explorations during the period of the New Economic Policy.

From Lenin's argument, he fully realized that the developed market economy is based on two interconnected markets, domestic and foreign, and the development of the domestic market economy must be linked to the world market. This is also an inevitable factor in the development of socialist countries' foreign economic relations, and properly handling the relationship between the two markets is an important principle for the operation of the socialist market economy.

Lenin’s Diverse and Flexible Ways in Building External Economic Relationships

Develop foreign trade. Lenin said, “ Although we have not won an international victory, that is, the only reliable victory for us, we have won ourselves the ability to coexist with the capitalist powers that now have to establish trade relations with us. Conditions.”[37] He said: “There is a clear factor that allows us to survive under this complicated and very special situation. That is, socialist country begins to establish trade relations with capitalist countries.” [38] Especially after the implementation of the New Economic Policy, foreign trade has developed rapidly. He has repeatedly asked the whole party to learn how to do business and accept the international market test. “As long as the capitalist countries still exist, we must do business with them.” “No matter how hostile it has ever been to us, it has to agree to do business with us and deal with us.”[39] “Without the exchange of foreign commodities, the economic revival of the Republic is impossible.”[40] He personally wrote to the Americans, welcoming the establishment of trade relations: “We attach great importance to our future business dealings with the United States.” [41] In order to develop foreign trade, he led the Soviets to initially establish a new foreign trade system.

 Concession production is a special form of introducing foreign capital and advanced technology, that is, leasing a small area or industry to foreign capital. The objective conditions for the implementation of the concession system are as follows: First, in terms of foreign capital, due to the increasingly narrow world market, there is a considerable amount of surplus capital that requires natural resources. As long as it is beneficial to them, the concession conditions can be accepted. There are abundant resources and natural advantages can be used to attract foreign investment. Lenin considered leased oil in Baku, forests in the north, wasteland in the west, and some mines. Lenin also considered using the concession system to develop Kamchatka. In a letter to the Communists of Azerbaijan, Georgia and other republics in April 1921, he instructed them: “Through the implementation of concession and commodity exchange policies, the capitalist West must be used in every possible way, strengthened and intensified. Petroleum, manganese, coal (Tkvarcheli coal mine), copper-the rich mineral resources are far more than these. There is ample possibility to widely implement the policy of concession and develop commodity exchanges with foreign countries.” [42]

Lenin paid much attention to the lease contract of the American millionaire Yuri Hammer and his son Almand Hammer to the Ural asbestos mine and the lease contract for stationery production and sales, and he personally met the young Hamer. Lenin wrote to the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) several times to introduce the situation of their father and son, thinking that “as the beginning of trade, this contract is of great significance” [43]. “This is a path leading to the American industrial world and should be used in every possible way.”[44] According to Almand Hammer’s memories, Lenin said to him: “Among the countries of the world, we think that the United States is the most developed capitalist country... We invite the Americans to Russia to ask them to teach Our methods of production have raised our industry to the height it deserves. For such assistance, we are willing to pay the price, promise that American capital will be absolutely inviolable, and ensure that it can earn money from the industrial and commercial enterprises it leases within a certain period of time Money.”[45] The above statement also embodies the main idea of Lenin’s concession system.

 Joint venture companies with foreign countries. As mentioned earlier, this was a form of shareholding system for introducing foreign capital at that time. Lenin advocated using this form to learn business. “First, we can learn to do business in this way, which is necessary for us. Second, if we think it is necessary, we can cancel this kind of company at any time.”[46] At that time, it was stipulated that the domestic shares of the joint venture company should not be less than 51%. Under this premise, the foreign capital should be widely absorbed and the foreign capitalist's status abroad should be used for foreign trade. Under the guidance of this policy, the Soviet Union and Russia organized 24 joint ventures within one or two years, such as “Soviet-German Joint Hardware Company”, “US-Russia Trading Joint Stock Company”, “Soviet-British Timber Joint Venture”, and so on. While insisting on the monopoly of foreign trade, Lenin emphasized the need to establish more such companies. At the Eleventh National Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Brazzaville), he regarded running such a company and studying business as one of his basic experiences. In the article “On Foreign Trade Monopoly” (December, 1922), he specifically pointed out: “The method of establishing a joint venture company is the only way to really improve the terrible organ of the People’s Committee of Foreign Trade. Because of this method, foreign businessmen You will work together with Russian merchants.” “The use of joint ventures for long-term and serious study is the only way to restore our country's industry.”[47]

Borrowing. In Lenin’s view, the borrowing and lending relationship between socialist countries and capitalist countries is completely permitted and feasible. He has repeatedly talked about using borrowings and foreign capital to raise electrification funds (approximately one-fifth of the total investment) and importing some active market commodities. The 11th, 12th, and 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Russia (Bolsheviks) all put forward proposals to obtain loans from abroad.

Recruit foreign experts to teach technology. Lenin has always attached great importance to this form. He has repeatedly proposed to hire a large number of foreign technical experts with high salaries to teach technology, and pay 50 million or 100 million rubles every year. “From the perspective of the national economy, the transition from the outdated production method to the latest and most complete production In terms of methods, spending this sum of money is entirely justified. It is worthwhile and worthwhile to spend such a sum of money in order to learn good production methods and methods.”[48].

Collect technical information. Lenin argued, “It is necessary for us to learn from Europe and the United States now.” [49] These data are very important for formulating economic plans, developing domestic and foreign trade, and improving the technical equipment of enterprises.

Building an open world economy and making new ground on pursuing opening up on all fronts are theoretical innovation in the new era

Lenin’s statement on the world economy and the use of the achievements of world capitalism has passed over a century, but its essence still needs to be used for reference and further development in practice. Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era embodies the enrichment and development of this important theory.

Historically, Xi Jinping’s thoughts on building an open world economy and full opening up are the inheritance and innovation of Marxism, and take the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics as the main line to further the world economy since Lenin and the idea of expanding opening Exploiting and improving is another leap in theory. We can briefly summarize from the following aspects.

(1) Made a new and in-depth analysis of the socialization of production and economic globalization in the world, and vividly summarized it as “human beings live in the same global village”. He said: “it is a world where countries are linked with and dependent on one another at a level never seen before. Mankind, by living in the same global village in the same era and on the same earth where history and reality meet, has increasingly emerged as a community with a shared future in which everyone has in himself a little bit of others.”[50] The history of international development testifies to the law that “economies make progress through exchange and inter-connectivity and fall behind because of seclusion and closedness”. Efforts to reduce tariff barriers and open wider will lead to inter-connectivity in economic cooperation and global trade, while the practices of beggaring thy neighbor, isolation and seclusion will only result in trade stagnation and an unhealthy world economy.  [51] This is an objective and realistic basis for building an innovative and inclusive open world economy, which is also inevitable.

(2) Made new judgement on the world economic situation in the new era. In today’s world, mankind is in a period of major development, major changes and major adjustments. The world’s multi-polarization, economic globalization, and the continuous advancement of social informatization and cultural diversification. Connections, interdependence, and global destiny are closely related. The rise of forces for peace far exceeds the growth of war factors. The trend of the times of peace, development, cooperation, and win-win is even stronger. There are both new opportunities for building an open world economy and unprecedented opportunities. new challenge. In general, the balance of power between the two worlds has undergone new changes. The socialist economic power is growing, the emerging market countries are gradually showing a trend of vigorous development, and the forces against the trend of globalization have declined and decayed. The opportunities outweigh the challenges. This is the environment and conditions for building an open world economy.

(3) Put forward principles and strategies to promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind. This important concept embodies the greatest common divisor of the current and long-term interests of all mankind, has a strong appeal and cohesion, and has been approved by the United Nations and other international organizations and many countries. This is the basic guiding ideology for building an open world economy and opening up my country.

(4) Proposed “Belt and Road Initiatives” as an important platform and way to promote the building of a community with shared future for mankind, jointly build an open world economy and opening up on all frontness. Xi Jinping vividly pointed out that the “Belt and Road Initiatives” is just add two more wings to the “giant bird” of the country. Once the construction is completed, the “giant bird” can accordingly fly higher and farther. This major cooperation initiative not only makes overall plans for the layout of the country's open space in the new era, but also designs the top-level design of the path for China and the world to achieve openness and mutual benefit. This is a major innovation of our party's opening theory, which demonstrates the confidence in the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, in theory, in systems, and in culture. This strategy has opened a new chapter in the opening up of socialist countries, and more and more countries are actively participating in it, especially the vast number of developing countries that regard it as a good opportunity for national rejuvenation.

(5) Support, follow and lead the historical trend of economic globalization, unite most countries, divide and isolate unilateralism and trade protectionism, and actively promote the construction of a new pattern of world governance. At the first China International Import Expo, Xi Jinping pointed out: “It is important for all countries to open wider and expand the space for mutually beneficial cooperation. Openness brings progress while seclusion leads to backwardness. Global trade and investment are driven by the need of countries for mutual exchange and complementarity. Countries need to pursue an open policy, explicitly oppose protectionism and unilateralism, and strive to enhance the level of opening-up at both multilateral and bilateral levels, so that we could make our economies interconnected and build an open world economy. We need to improve macroeconomic coordination and reduce the negative spillovers of national policies to jointly promote global economic growth. We need to establish a set of global economic and trade rules that is fair, reasonable and transparent, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation to make the global economy more open through greater exchanges and integration.” [52]

(6) Regard the comprehensive promotion of reform and opening up as the fundamental way out and the most important fulcrum for realizing the prosperity of the country and advancing an open world economy. Xi Jinping pointed out: “Integrating into the world economy is the general direction of history. For China’s economy to develop, it must dare to swim in the vast ocean of the world market. If you never dare to go to the sea to experience the wind and rain and see the world, one day you will Drowning in the middle of the world. Therefore, China bravely marched towards the world market. In the process, we choked on water, encountered whirlpools, encountered wind and waves, but we learned to swim while swimming. This is the correct strategic choice.”[53] Going forward, China will take an even more responsible approach, be even more open and inclusive, and strive to achieve even higher quality of growth. By doing so, as it develops itself, China will make greater contributions to the common prosperity of the world.[54] Facts speak louder than words. Over the past 40 years, China’s total imports and exports of goods have increased by 198 times, and the total value of imports and exports in services has increased by 147 times. It has attracted more than US $2 trillion in foreign investment. It has become the world’s largest foreign trade country, the largest improvement in the business environment, and one of the economies that contributes more than 30% to world economic development. [55]

(7) Uphold the unity of principle and flexibility at a higher level. The principle is to ensure that national sovereignty is not violated, and to adhere to mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence with all countries in the world. Under this premise, adopt wide-field, dual-entry, and multi-form opening, focusing on economy (including goods, finance, etc.), and expanding to cultural, ecological and other fields; “bringing in” and “going out” in parallel; diverse forms of communication , flexible and eclectic, the CIIE is the first in the world.

(8) Persist in expanding opening up and ensuring the unity of security. In world exchanges, we must have a sense of worry, prevent and resolve various risks, flexibly respond to various uncertain factors, meet challenges while taking advantage of opportunities, and ensure overall national security.

To sum up, Lenin’s use of the “world economy” to Deng Xiaoping’s opening of the door to the outside world, to Xi Jinping's co-building of an “open world economy”, they all adhere to the basic Marxist theory and make scientific judgments of the times. When demonstrating the use of the “world economy”, Lenin pointed out many times: We were in the era of capitalism and we must not forget the international class struggle. Although imperialism is now declining, its power still prevails, and the era of imperialism is not over yet. When Deng Xiaoping proposed and implemented opening to the outside world, he emphasized that we must adhere to the path of socialism and prevent peaceful evolution. The entire imperialist Western world is trying to make all socialist countries abandon the path of socialism and will eventually be brought under the rule of international monopoly capital in the direction of capitalism[56]. Xi Jinping has pointed out many times that we must pay attention to the changes in the world struggle situation and study the evolution of modern capitalism and the dual policies towards socialist countries. In the process of opening wider to the outside world, we must maintain our steadfastness, and we will neither follow the old path of rigidity nor the evil path of changing the flag. Although economic struggle is the main form now, the overall security of the country must not be forgotten and ignored. In short, we must also pay attention to the two sides of world economic development, especially the increase in uncertain factors, we must recognize the particularity of international struggles, be alert to and respond to the hegemony of “America First” and various kinds of restraining China’s development and opposing the trend of globalization. The scheme has strengthened the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has become a benchmark and engine for the people of the world to strive for liberation and economic prosperity.


Yang Chengxun: Professor at Henan University of Economics and Law

This paper was first published in Marxism and Reality, No 2, 2020 in Beijing, China.


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