Critical Management Thinking Final Essay - Bianca Obert and Yafei Xue - S2 - MiM - IE

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Published on September 29, 2015

Author: BiancaOS

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1. Bianca Obert & Yafei Xue MIM – Section 2 Critical Management Thinking (CMT) Final Essay Question 3:  Why is Marxism better than Democracy for China? 2497 words (excluding the footnotes and including Chinese words)

2. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 2 on 13 At the break of dawn of the XXIst century, two individuals that have nothing in common other than their shared experience in IE Business School, MIM program, Section 2, are meeting in a Beijing Starbucks coffee; the ultimate symbol of capitalism, a coffee shop that serves identical drinks and products worldwide for outrageous prices. Starbuck‟s is undoubtedly priceless for every IE student‟s survival. Alex: *walking towards a free table* This is madness! My coffee costs 30 RMB! That is…. What, $5? I can get exactly the same coffee in San Francisco for $3, 50... That should be around 20 RMB, right?1 Is this what you call communism? Kim: *already used to his friends lack of diplomacy, rolled his eyes* Alex, the real issue is not in the price itself but how companies take advantage of the situation. With the excuse of good quality, branding and technological know-how, western companies charge their products sometimes more than twice the price of domestic ones; in order to gain juicy profits.2 Alex: Is that the reason why China has started a war on foreign product‟s pricing? 3 I don‟t get it. It is legal to match prices with what the consumers are willing to pay. Is it not the way the “market”, the law of supply and demand functions? Kim: No. You don‟t get it. China is a market economy. The difference between your country and mine is that we do not have the same values to regulate it. Do you remember 1 The Wall Street Journal, On Currencies, What‟s Fair Is Hard to Say, by Ira Iosebashvili, February 21, 2013, (Appendix 1). Available from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324503204578318324258865306?mg=reno64- wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424127887324503204578318324258865306.html#project=latte2&articl eTabs=article 2 Reuters, RTP-UPDATE2-Nestle, Danone to cut Chinese infant milk prices amid probe, by Donny Kwok, July 4th , 2013; Paragraphs 18 and 21. Available from: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/04/china-milkpowder-nestle-idUSL3N0F92DI20130704 3 Time World, China Roasts Starbucks: Foreign Brands Come Under Fire for High Prices, by Hannah Beech. Available from: http://world.time.com/2013/10/21/china-roasts-starbucks-foreign-brands-come-under-fire-for-high-prices/

3. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 3 on 13 Sandel in Critical Management Thinking? He explains that the people should “decide what values should govern the various domains of social and civic life”4 . With Marxism and our way of life, those values are already predefined; the good of the nation and our people is automatically chosen. Take for example the case of the Nestle milk. The government asks foreign companies to reduce their price, going against any competitive advantage the local producers (farmers and local brands) have. The reason being that our local production of powdered milk is of bad quality and that by making the foreign product cheaper it becomes accessible to more Chinese people, increasing the health of the population. In this case, the local producer‟s wealth is an issue for the nation‟s “commonwealth”; therefore they are put aside. Alex: I still do not understand. How can you let the government decide for you what is most important without becoming “frustrated”5 ? You do know that the market-oriented, liberalized and fair economy your Primer Li Keqiang wants to implement will never exist if the government keeps on interfering….. Kim: Unlike your society, we see the market economy as “a valuable and effective tool”6 to foster our economy; it is not the core of our society. Our base is the same as “bourgeoisie”, we want the means of production to evolve and the economy to develop but we want this ideal to be accessible to all; to every citizen whichever class they belong to; it is the precondition of the socialist state7 . Alex: *with a perplexed look on his face* I hear and understand what you say but I still think that it goes against any form of individual freedom, identity and wealth. To me, the 4 What Money can‟t Buy, The Moral Limit of Markets, by Micheal J. Sandel, page 12, paragraph 2, line 4 to 6 5 What Money can‟t Buy, The Moral Limit of Markets, by Micheal J. Sandel, page 20, paragraph 1, line 8 to 12 6 What Money can‟t Buy, The Moral Limit of Markets, by Micheal J. Sandel, page 17, paragraph 3, line 2 7 Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, page 487, paragraph 3

4. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 4 on 13 people under your party‟s dictatorship are forced into “self-incurred immaturity” as they will never be “emancipated” nor “enlightened”. Don‟t you fear that your country will stagnate in that state and never evolve?8 Being a man of the XXIst century and an educated adult, how can you accept that fate for your people? Kim: *raising his coffee in the midair* Do you think you are living in an enlightened society? Do you think that it is even possible when you are advocating mediocrity instead of culture? Your so-called capitalism does not favor the ones that work the hardest but those who excel in financial gain, forgoing other important aspects of society such as quality in writing, raising children; I can go on for ages. This leads to inequality and segregation among classes as only the rich may go to school or open their own businesses. Don‟t you think all these lead to elitism and resentment? Your system is not as fair as you think it is and when it is. It does not protect your countries companies and population like we would protect ours.9 Now let me ask you, how can you be free without the protection of your nation? 10 Alex: *sitting back in a seemingly relaxed way* First of all, I am well aware that my society is far from being enlightened… However, it enables people to be responsible for their own actions, to truly become enlightened. Secondly, it is true that our nations protect us by giving us a nationality. This is why we must unite behind it to ensure its stability. Whatever happens though, that must not be done at the price of our personal and family welfare. Nevertheless we believe, as Arendt underlines, that “the fundamental deprivation of human rights is manifested (…with) the deprivation of a place in the world which makes 8 Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, by Immanuel Kant, page 17, paragraph 1 9 Combination of Marx‟s and Sandel‟s thoughts as we understood them 10 Conclusion of our understanding of The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt

5. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 5 on 13 opinions significant and actions effective” 11 . If those rights are not respected, how we can believe in that nation? If we do not believe in it, how can we protect it? Kim: If you are playing the Arendt card, please do not forget that she says herself that “we are not born equal; we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights”12 . In the same way as with communism, we do not believe in the need to create “the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes” to enhance our society; we are one whole entity that thrives towards one common goal.13 Alex: Trust me I understand your ardent patriotism. I just think it is misplaced when I remember the 1989 Tian‟anmen Square massacre. Your government killed innocent citizens when the only thing they did wrong was to march in the streets to give their opinion.14 What is even more shocking to me is that they do not acknowledge having done anything wrong. They go even further each year by implementing everything within their power to prevent their citizens from expressing their feelings; even 25 years later15 … Do you expect me to believe that in 2014 your basic human rights are respected when you can‟t vote, worship the symbols you truly believe in or openly criticize the government?16 Kim: *smiling softly* Do you really think the Chinese government can control its population‟s mindset by deleting key words on the Internet, emoticons or entire posts? It is true that in China, transparency is not a trend as it is in western countries. We live in the 11 The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt, page 296, paragraph 3, line 1 to 3 12 The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt, page 301, paragraph 2, line 10 to 12 13 Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, page 483, paragraph 2 14 BBC News, 1989: Massacre in Tian‟anmen Square. Available from : http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/4/newsid_2496000/2496277.stm 15 abc News, Tian‟anmen Square Quietly Rememberes 23 Years Later, by Gloria Riviera, June 4th , 2012. Available from: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/06/tiananmen-square-quietly-remembered-23-years-later/ 16 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United Nations, December 10th , 1948, Article 12 and Article 21. Available from: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

6. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 6 on 13 reality, we know what is happening and to counter the government‟s manipulation we use more discrete and impacting ways to convey our thought. We even have a saying to translate that fact: “The more hidden the way, the more attractive the message” *the discrete smile turned into a wide grin now* Seriously man, transparency is nothing but a trend in your so-called democracy. Your mass media is owned by a group of individuals who protect their own interests. They do not convey information for the good of the community but their direct clients (B2B: owners, sponsors and governments). They do not share the truth but tales that will manoeuver the public opinion. That way, they make them blindly follow their client‟s wishes. What is even more dangerous is that you do not realize that you are in a fantasy world, an obscure one, inhabited with terrorism, consumerism and shallow values17 . You believe in transparency, the market society and human rights? The lie you are living in is the real deal, a true denial of human rights for me. Alex: It is true that our government is hiding information and actions from us. In my opinion, that is simply the risk of letting people yield the power. You have shown me all of your examples that prove that you can be more open minded than western societies and you value your citizens. So why don‟t you go the extra mile and fight for a democracy? To become an “evolved” country as the other “165 independent countries and two territories” that are democracies18 ? That way, we will be able to achieve universal peace. Kim: *once again raising his eyes in the air* You do know that Germany was also considered as an „evolved‟ country when they decided to exterminate an entire layer of 17 Chinese Social Media, Appendix 2. Available from: http://news.xinhuanet.com/yzyd/world/20140303/c_119580386.htm 18 The Huffington Post, Democracy Inx 2013: Global Democracy At A Standstill, The Economist Intelligence Unit‟s Annual Report Shows, by Kavitha A. Davidson, March 21st , 2013, Paragraph 3. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/democracy-index- 2013-economist-intelligence-unit_n_2909619.html

7. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 7 on 13 society19 … I do not believe the opinion of other nations would really change people‟s actions… Putting that fact aside… You know, China has tried democracy… it was about a hundred years ago, during the Republic of China era… Sadly, it only resulted in violence and bloodshed. The reason being is that democracy is not part of mindset. Chinese people need to have a leader to show them the right path20 . Democracy is so different from our way of functioning that the president at that time, Yuan Shih-kai (or Yuan Shikai), the very man advocating democracy had murdered his opponent Sung Chiao-jen (or Song Jiaoren) and was only elected because he locked up the electors until he was „elected legitimately‟21 . Of course, all of this had led to a revolution that created a new page in Chinese history; reinstalling Marxism though Maoism and creating a situation of “civil commonwealth (that) can maintain itself automatically” 22 , called Chinese Socialism. It might not be perfect, but most importantly, it is what the people can believe in and it is perfectly tailored to China‟s society and economy. However, never believe that we blindly follow the government. In my opinion, the issue is that other nations and countries do not accept the fact that we follow our own beliefs, opinions, ignoring the most popular point of view. It is important that differences are acknowledged and respected in order to attain your universal peace or “universal enlightenment” as Kant would put it. Nevertheless, we are far from that ideal world and even if it is true that nuclear weapons made a Third World War impossible and unimaginable; the Chinese government has rendered any political and economic attack towards the country unthinkable by creating anti-satellites weaponry, that would paralyze a country by disabling the use of high-tech weaponry and their 19 The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt, page 269, paragraph 2, line 11 to 15 20 Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, by Immanuel Kant, page 17, paragraph 2, the definition of “guardian‟s” 21 The Economist, The song of Song, December 22nd , 2012, Paragraph 1 to 9. Available from: http://www.economist.com/news/christmas/21568587-shot-killed-song-jiaoren-was-not-heard-around-world-it-might-have-changed 22 Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, by Immanuel Kant, page 11, paragraph 1, line 4 to 10

8. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 8 on 13 communication if needed23 and of course, the control of the United States of America‟s economy by purchasing the country‟s debts24 . Alex: *moving forward* from what you told me so far, the way your government and citizens are doing things is strategic. It seems every one of your steps are carefully examined and defined which is, of course, normal for your government… On a personal level, don‟t you feel imprisoned, claustrophobic? How do live your dreams and your own life to the fullest? Kim: You might feel I‟m going „Grand Master Jedi Yoda‟ on you, nevertheless, even the bird that flies high in the sky needs to sit on a branch to rest. Think of the bird as an individual and the branch as the nation. This brings us back to our Marxism/Maoism. In china, we see the greater picture rather than the individual‟s well-being: the protection and the improvement of our country come first so our offspring‟s future may be ensured. As you can see the word nation in Chinese is the word treasure circled. *takes a pen and writes the Hanzi on the bill: 国* It expresses that our nation must be protected so the people can find stability and peace. It is that peace that leads to freedom. It is not the freedom of having material objects or accomplishments to show off to others personally or on Social Media. But the freedom of mind and to elevate yourself to become who you want to be and who you are born to become. In the ancient Chinese saying of Confucius, we state our path towards universal peace in the following way: “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our 23 RT, US military satellites vulnerable in future space war- Space Command chief, January 09, 2014, Paragraph 1 an2. Available from: http://rt.com/usa/us-satellites-vulnerable-shelton-381/ 24 Bloomberg, China‟s Treasury Holdings Climb to Record in Government Data, by Ian Katz, January 16th , 2014; Available from: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-15/china-s-treasury-holdings-rose-to-record-in-november-data-show.html

9. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 9 on 13 personal life, we must first set our hearts right”25 . Therefore, we consider individuals and ourselves as a way to achieve a higher goal; that is our societies‟ harmony. We can see this as our „moral agreement‟26 and prevents us from falling into a “market society” that would be fatal for us27 . Alex: Let‟s say that I fully agree with your reasoning. In that case, how do you define what you were born to accomplish? How you should interact with others? Are you simply „brainwashed‟ into your life? Kim: *suddenly gets up, takes a piece of paper from the counter before coming back at the table* Take as an example the word „man‟ in Hanzi *writes the word: 人*. It looks simple and plane but it is symbolically strong. It mimic‟s man‟s lower two members positioned to bring stability28 . In the same way, the word “Obey” is written with the use of twice the word „men‟ *writing two 人, making it looks the following way: 从*. In this word, one man is smaller than the other to enhance the fact that one man is obeying the other to reach a higher goal. It is well known that if you follow two opinions at the same time, you will become unproductive and „the ship will sink‟. Finally, the word „crowd‟ is written with three men *writing the Hanzi 众*. This symbol along with the previous significations show how important unity is for a group of people; creating an entity is unavoidable. Our way of viewing things, dictates that all men must follow the same goal, and therefore the same leader in order to achieve the same desired result. 25 Li ji: Da Xue (Book of Rites: the great learning), by Confucius and his students, translated by James Legge. Avaiable from: http://ctext.org/liji/da-xue 26 Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and History, by Immanuel Kant, page 12, paragraph 29 to 32 27 What Money can‟t Buy, The Moral Limit of Markets, by Micheal J. Sandel, page 15, paragraph 2 and 3 28 Based on China culture of Shaolin Kung Fu, that most of the Chinese children learn since young as a part of physical education. The gesture of Kung Fu to stand, walk or fight (Appendix 3). Available from: http://www.shaolinwheeloflife.com/gallery/kungfu/default.html

10. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 10 on 13 This selflessness and group oriented spirit are what makes China unique and that‟s why we think communism with Chinese Socialism is the best path to guide our society towards enlightenment, peace and growth. Both friends went back to sipping their Mocha in silence profiting from Beijing‟s buzzing atmosphere. After this analysis of China, we believe that the privilege of an entire nation is accepting its specific and unparalleled character. In that way, the country will be able to express and think for itself while going in the direction that suits it the best. In some way, it will become enlightened. China has chosen the path of Marxism and made it evolve into Chinese Socialism; a base of Marxism intertwined with different Chinese philosophers such as Confucius (孔夫 子) and Lao Tzu (老子). As we saw through this essay, these concepts also follow „western‟ philosophers concerns voiced by Kant, Sandel and Arendt. “大道之行也,天下为公” “When the Great Way is practiced, the world is for the public.”29 29 Li Yun Da Tong (The Great Together ), by Confucius and his students, the Chapter “The Operation of Etiquette” in Li Ji, translated by Feng Xin-ming, April 2008. Avaiable from : http://tsoidug.org/Literary/Etiquette_Great_Together_Simp.pdf

11. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 11 on 13 Appendix 1

12. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 12 on 13 Appendix 2

13. Yafei Xue MIM Section2 Bianca Obert Page 13 on 13 Appendix 3

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