By Bojidar Marinov
A Samizdat political cartoon distributed illegally in the early 1980s in Eastern Europe showed the Soviet Politburo staring in astonishment at John Kenneth Galbraith’s assessment that the Soviet economy was thriving and that it was two-thirds the size of the US economy, and in a few years the USSR would out-do the US economically. Hardly anyone could have been surprised by Galbraith’s estimate except the Soviet leaders who knew the truth. The conservatives in the US knew Galbraith’s profound incompetence despite his fame as an economist, so they weren’t too surprised when he said what he said. The liberals – just like today – didn’t care for facts and truth, as long as they heard what they wanted to hear. The educated readers in Eastern Europe – provided they had access to Western sources – knowing the gullibility of alleged “economists” like Galbraith and Samuelson, weren’t surprised either. But the Politburo knew the truth very well, that the Soviet economy was indeed two-thirds, but of the Belgian economy, not of the US economy; and they must have been quite surprised to discover that a man who passed for knowledgeable in the US could make such gigantic blunders in his economic studies.
The fall of the Soviet Union effectively removed from the market of economic thought the names of Galbraith and Samuelson. One would think that this story of failed economic predictions and blunders of men with great reputation would teach the leftists to be more careful next time they spew their propaganda.
Nope. Leftists don’t learn from either facts or experience. These days George Soros is committed to show the world that leftists never learn. He keeps telling the whole world that Communist China is growing economically and that its grip on the global economy is getting tighter. He also invests in China, a few dozen millions of US Dollars (strangely small numbers for a man like him, given the great expectations he has of the Chinese economy).
Again, just like before with the Soviet Union, the only people surprised at Soros’s statements are probably the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. They know the truth. They are aware that most of what is registered as “growth” in China is either distortion of books on massive scale, or “Potemkin’s villages” built by local provincial governments to present “growth figures” to the central government in Beijing. Government bureaucrats are always obsessed with statistics that show how much good they are doing. When the economy is under the control of the government bureaucrats, there is no end to what statistics can show and prove. When this is coupled with a Communist ideology focused on proving the “superiority” of the Communist system, statistics is no longer a tool for obtaining information but a weapon for suppressing discontent at home and criticism from abroad. Communist leaders know very well their statistics are lying; they must be very surprised Soros with all his economic and financial savvy cannot see through the haze of government lies.
But the more important question here is: What exactly makes a nation the economic leader of the world? Are there predictable trends that can help us forecast a change in the economic balance in the world? How does Soros determine which nation is or will become the world’s economic leader?
Soros, of course, is blinded by his leftist ideology. His only focus is the actions of the central government. He bases his assessments and predictions on whether the central government of a nation has the power to do impose certain policies on its population; policies that agree Soros’s ideology. So the Chinese government, being as socialistic and tyrannical over its people as Soros wants it, looks promising in his eyes, since somehow the government policies will produce the productivity and the economic growth he wants. And since the Federal government in the US doesn’t have the same power over America, its businesses, and its citizens, and since apparently Obama and the other marionettes of Soros have failed in creating the same socialist central power in the US, he has only bad things to say and expect about the American economy. Just like Galbraith and Samuelson before him, Soros’s view of reality is seriously distorted because of his false ideology.
Can government actions and policies really turn a nation into a world economic leader? Amazingly, not only Soros, many conservative commentators seem to believe such a thing. In such a view, individual participants on the market as just the same everywhere, China or America, and all that matters is what policies a government will enact to control, regulate, or direct economic output, and therefore achieve or lose economic hegemony over the globe.
There is a problem with that approach: Before a government can regulate, control, or direct economic output, someone has to produce it. Governments don’t produce anything. Even businesses don’t produce anything. Both governments and businesses are dependent for both production and control of production on the individual workers, managers, and entrepreneurs. If these individual people don’t produce, there is nothing to sell, buy, or regulate. And therefore a nation can not become economic leader unless it has a majority of producers, at the lowest level.
But individual people can be conscientious and productive, and they can be immoral and lazy. No government, and no business can achieve economic output beyond the limits of the personal self-control and industry of their individual workers. It is work ethics that matters, not government control. Government control can only destroy what is created. Only work ethics can actually produce more and better things. Without it, no nation can become economic leader.
But in the long-term, work ethics is not an isolated phenomenon; it depends on the faith of the population, on the beliefs of the people in certain truths. People won’t normally spend long hours faithfully working unless they have a specific view of God, man, law, profits, and time. People are not automatons, driven by hidden motive for profit. Even profit is a religious motive – one must believe profit is possible and desirable and moral before they go for it. On every stage of the economic development of a nation, every action of every individual – and of the majority of the market participants – must be driven by their faith in a higher principle that allows for economic efforts, commands economic efforts, and rewards – materially and spiritually – economic efforts.
There is only one set of higher principles that can create such spiritual commitment to economic efforts: Christianity. America didn’t become the world’s economic leader by chance. It was the Reformed faith of the Founders, remaining as a legacy throughout the nation long after their faith was lost, is what made America what it is today. That faith in the God of the Bible, in His commandments to man to be “fruitful” (including economically), in His Law that controlled men better than any government will ever be able to do, in His promises to reward the faithful, and in time as the process of redeeming the creation. No other religion could create such economic commitment and activity in the majority of the individual people, and therefore America’s rise to the position of world leader is based on its Christian heritage.
Smaller nations like Korea or Japan were able to rise to position of economic leaders only by imitating America’s work ethics, which is Christian-based. On the other hand, Europe has lost its position exactly because the loss of the Christian culture that once defined Europe has created new attitudes, very similar to those of the inhabitants of the poorer regions of the world – envy, laziness, and entitlement mentality, which destroy productivity and produce economic backwardness.
So before China can become the world’s economic leader Soros wants it to be, it must go the same way as America: (1) widespread conversion to Christianity first; (2) generational building of Christian culture conducive to economic productivity and effort; (3) as a result of that Christian culture, a change from socialist oppressive government to government obedient to Jesus Christ and therefore valuing and protecting the freedom of its citizens; and (4) Christian missionary influence on other nations that will facilitate free trade and spread of economic growth without compulsion or government intervention. Such a program will take generations; any short-term “growth” that is not generated by widespread conversion is illusory.
Ironically for Soros, for China to become a true economic leader, it will have to become everything he hates about America: a Christian, conservative, freedom-loving nation. Anything less than that will keep China in the same spiral of poverty as it has been for centuries. Economy is based on a foundational faith, not on government policies; anything else is delusions and false statistics.