Rixon Stewart — July 18, 2013
Nearly one hundred years ago Russia underwent a revolution that was to be echoed decades later in China.
In historical terms, Russia transformed almost overnight from Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union. From being a largely peasant society ruled by an all powerful Emperor, Russia became a supposedly egalitarian state.
Ostensibly classless, Lenin’s proclamations about the proletariat and the rights of workers were used to dupe the masses. For ultimately Russian communism was based on one thing and one thing only: a belief in the absolute precedence of materialism.
That’s why according to his grandson John Schiff, to ensure its success millionaire Jacob Schiff “sank about 20 million dollars for the final triumph of Bolshevism”. For communism was essentially the brainchild of the super rich and served their purposes, rather than those of the ‘workers’.
So despite claims of a more equitable distribution of wealth and although Russia’s leaders may have cloaked their real intentions with political jargon, materialism was still the bedrock on which Russian communism was built.
In the eyes of Soviet political commissars any type of spiritual belief was consequently seen as a form of heresy.
Resolutely atheistic, they elevated ‘scientific materialism’ over and above any spiritual faith, which they deemed as little more than superstition at best, and a threat to “communism” (i.e. faith in materialism) at worst.
However neither the industrial nor agrarian workers enjoyed much in the way of economic benefit from this new dispensation. They were too busy trying to meet harvest and production targets for that.
In other words, their lives were totally beholden to the dictates of materialism.
With hindsight we now know that Russian communism simply didn’t work. Beyond its failure as a political and economic system it also brought unprecedented suffering to millions in the gulags.
Although they are not openly saying as much, but perhaps mindful of the failures of Russian communism, China’s leaders seem intent on moving modern China away from its communist origins, although they haven’t entirely dispensed with the political nomenclature.
Nonetheless despite outward political transformation materialism still remains paramount in China. Only now flashy Western designer labels have replaced the drab garb of Maoist times
Having recently returned to China the ongoing economic growth is startling and it’s taking place at a phenomenal pace.
To give but one example: when I first visited Beijing just over a decade ago the city had but two subway lines. Today China’s capitol has an extensive subway network that is bigger than New York’s or the London Underground and it’s still growing. Indeed it is now the second biggest subway system in the world, after Shanghai’s.
In the seven years since I was last in Beijing some areas are now barely recognisable. Thankfully the hotel I stayed in before remained the same but many of the takeaways and work-a-day convenience stores in the surrounding area have now gone. Replaced instead by showrooms for Rolls Royce, Range Rover and Masseratti.
While the other hotels in the area, which although respectable and middle range when I last visited, have been upgraded or replaced by new establishments that wouldn’t be of place in Mayfair or Las Vegas.
In essence it is materialism writ large, with the Chinese having been transformed from the regimented workers of little more than two decades ago into savvy consumers intent on getting ahead today.
Although China’s outward appearance may have changed the governing principle remains the same however. It is faith in materialism but like any faith differences come in how those principles are seen to operate in this world.
With materialism it can manifest as either capitalism or communism, because although we’ve been told that they are at opposite ends of the political spectrum they both stem from the same fundamental belief: a faith in the primacy of material wealth.
Making the differences between capitalism and communism little more than those within other faiths, such as Catholicism and Protestantism, or Sunni and Shia. In each case the faith has the same foundation, be it the Bible or the Koran, the differences come in how its fundamental principles are interpreted.
In materialism’s terms, is the article of faith dispensed equally or according to merit and if so who or what determines what is worthy of merit? Either way, belief in the primacy of materialism remains fundamental.
In view of this it’s no surprise that China and Russia have gone down the same route: empire and revolution followed by decades of communist totalitarianism and now, with the end of the old order, renewed economic growth.
Both nations are now seeing a burgeoning middle-class, a fact that was apparent on my most recent visit to Beijing, where unprecedented economic growth has been the norm for over a decade. While Russia has displayed the sort of economic resilience and stability that many in the West can now only yearn for.
So does that mean both nations will go the same way as the U.S.? Where the pioneering spirit of innovation that once prevailed in America’s early years has been replaced by Wall Street and a culture that thrives in consumerism and greed. Where the free market economy once vaunted as an integral part of the “American way of life” has transformed like Frankenstein into corporate monstrosities such as Monsanto.
Where the spirit of technical innovation that saw the Wright brothers pioneer flight just over a century ago has grown into a multi-billion dollar arms industry wreaking death and destruction across the world.
Of course this isn’t only confined to America, large parts of the West seem to be afflicted by a similar malaise. Only in America the fruits of a culture in terminal decline are all too evident and there may be a reason for this.
As Les Visible has opined in regard to other matters, this maybe for the purposes of demonstration. An episode in time that will provide future historians with an example to help illustrate a lesson. So that future generations will look back at America’s impending collapse and learn.
It may not be apparent for years yet or even decades but there may be a lesson in this for all humanity. It’s also why I don’t think either Russia or China will follow the same route the U.S. is about to go sprawling down.
Indeed it’s a lesson that may cause many to pause before following the same precipitous path.
Already the smarter Americans are getting out. Les Visible is one such and he’s not the only one, others are getting ready to leave too. Their haste to leave may be because they sense, if only subconsciously, what a gifted psychic friend spotted some time back.