The promises of reform at Foxconn
are the latest of many as China painfully adjusts to the inevitable
social realignment that comes with a capitalist economy. What is
occurring in China now happened in Europe during the transition from
feudal to industrial society. That transition is more germane than
it might appear at first blush because over the past two generations China has been emerging not from a
Marxist, but from a feudal state. Indeed, if one were to take Marx's
view, China could only arrive at communism through capitalism, and
only arrive at capitalism through feudalism. For in Marx's view, as
Schumpeter writes, “it is essential for the logic of capitalism,
and not only a matter of fact, that it grew out of a feudal state of
society”. Marx's vision flows from feudalism through capitalism to
a post-capitalist society that can only arise once capitalism has run
its course, after it has not only provided the necessary social and
economic foundation but also has become unsustainable.
I have already discussed my view of the implications of this world for income distribution and for economic mobility. In a nutshell, the more we move into caring about the virtual, the more the hill will turn into a plain, at least for the large subset of the population that is secure in the essential needs of life.