Learning from the elders

Before we start denigrating those who have demonstrated the most consistency over the past 2500 years, let’s take an unbiased look at them since they have lived by more or less similar values for so long – the Chinese. The five constants of (1) humaneness, (2) righteousness, (3) morality, (4) integrity, and (5) knowledge serve as a guide for the Renmin (the Chinese people):

  • In their relations with other people
  • With a corresponding sense of duty
  • Friendliness
  • Honesty and
  • Precise expression.

The behavior is built on these Wuchang’s – a strong sense of ­belonging, the political system, and the social credits. Full centralization and independence from electoral promises enable the leaders to set and realize ambitious goals – even if dealing with human rights falls by the wayside.

If you let go of the general polemics toward the Chinese dragon regarding the political system and how they deal with resistance, there is a lot to learn from the two and a half thousand-year-old Confucian mindset.

  • If you do not have perseverance with small things, the big plan will fail
    China’s connection to international markets bundles various projects. It aligns efforts in the long run under One Belt, One Road, or The New Silk Road (on land and water) towards economic expansion. In the West, the focus on long time horizons has been lost. At the same time, large-scale projects are made impossible by excessive bureaucracy and private resistance. As a result, decision-makers are rewarded for short-term good behavior towards the loudest rather than the majority’s needs.
    In the West, we should remember that the majority’s welfare, decisiveness, and perseverance are prerequisites for our progress. This requires a masterplan that promotes, for example, education and ensures an operational infrastructure and the preservation of competitive advantages.
  • A sounding drum needs no heavy beating
    The ongoing criticism of the conditions in China shows a lack of understanding of Asian cultural peculiarities. When the social credit system is discredited as Big Brother is watching, many oversee the corresponding measures of observation in the West – e.g., surveillance cameras in England, extensive monitoring of communications and road traffic in Germany, or the U.S. overbearing NSA. In contrast, the Chinese system counts on ancient values (see the five constants), which make it easier to introduce, for example, the social credit system, mainly when it is linked to the targeted doubling of per capita income by 2035.
    We should move away from the basic idea of subordinating anything to companies’ economic success and a few super-rich people. We will only remain viable when we preserve future generations’ future opportunities by focusing more on securing the long-term performance of all, creating a joint (for example, a European) identity, and preventing the societal division into haves and have-nots. A fruitful community spirit enables benefits for everybody when all stakeholders pull together one rope.
  • Do one thing and not letting the other
    In contrast to the culturally neighboring 27 European countries, China comprises 90 ethnic groups or 56 official nationalities. While it spans five time zones, it has only one time, that of Beijing. If we consider the more than 1.4 million people, then the internal difficulties become understandable. If you think about the Asian mentality of Yin and Yang, the results of One Country, Two Systems, or the new measure of Dual Circulations, the results are impressive – in other words, the mode of doing one thing and not letting the other.
    We could benefit a lot from such inherently contradictory approaches instead of dogmatically following the everybody for oneself. The E.U. is less struggling with different mentalities. Trouble arises from national egoisms. For example, Europe has made itself incapable of acting due to its distribution of authority or veto power. Only if the nation stating is dissolved in favor of the United States of Europe will there be a future for all – the European market has the right size, is based on a common culture, and has an established economy.
  • Utilize all opportunities
    With its Made in China 2025 (MIC), China aims to dominate in key areas – determined digitalization (e.g., network infrastructure, semiconductors); introduction of cryptocurrency; further development of transport systems (e.g., high-speed trains, electromobility, space travel); expansion of I.T. capabilities (e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Robots, and Automation); performance improvements in agriculture.
    Although we have comparable needs for action, we cannot go beyond lip service due to a lack of decisiveness and pursuit of personal gains. We are left with projects that are repeatedly delayed into the future. We skim off the accumulated cream of the economy and redistribute wealth from the bottom to the top. This leads inevitably to an economic infarction – at the latest when previous advances have been eaten up. In modifying a burnt motto, we need a Europe First that is carried and supported by ALL – free from national and personal concerns.
  • Cross the river by feeling for stones
    The future lies hidden in the mist of possibilities. However, the following touchdown points are recognizable. Accordingly, Deng Xiaoping had issued the motto Cross the river by feeling for stones. With its current student population of more than 40 million and the millions of graduates in recent years, China has an overwhelming knowledge worker reservoir. With this flood of knowledge, they are building the future foundations as part of the China Standards 2035 The most patent activity takes place in China with over 1.4 million according to WIPO (followed by the USA with over 600k, Japan with over 300k, South Korea with almost 220k, and Germany with over 67k patents).
    We can see from the numbers who is determining future matters. To secure our opportunities, the Europeans would have to set and pursue the priorities just like China. If we fail to do this, we will continue to lose substance. This applies to people’s performance and the economy, the communications networks coverage, the exploitation of the Western mentality, and the inherited understanding of quality.

Bottom line: In essence, this post is about moving away from the polarizing view on China. It would be better to recognize that China has increased its GDP by RMB five hundredfold in the past sixty years. Within the same time, Germany’s GDP has increased twenty-onefold. Even though China started at a shallow level, we will have to deal in this decade with China taking the lead in the economy. It is mainly because of its persistently implemented initiatives: One Belt, One Road; Social Credit System; Dual Circulation; Made in China 2025 (MIC). To remain economically significant, it is necessary to develop and consequently implement a masterplan in Europe. Therefore, bureaucratic and social resistances do not have to continue to be sat out but must be solved. The core issues are the support of qualification for all, the consistent elimination of the preferential treatment of capital and industry, seamless digitization, and future technologies’ development and use. To achieve this, we can learn from those who have been on the road the longest and are doing it currently at best.