"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
Phase 2, 1978 to 2013: The Deng and Deng Successors Phase of Gaining Strengths Through Economic Reforms and Opening Up Without Creating Threats to Other Countries2 Phase 2, 1978 to 2013: The Deng and Deng Successors Phase of Gaining Strengths Through Economic Reforms and Opening Up Without Creating Threats to Other CountriesPhase 2, 1978 to 2013: The Deng and Deng Successors Phase of Gaining Strengths Through Economic Reforms and Opening Up Without Creating Threats to Other CountriesChapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
Early on, in February 1979, Deng invaded Vietnam with an assault that was similar to Mao’s intercession in the Korean War early in his term, in that it was to deal with the growing threat on China’s border and to make a clear display of China’s willingness to fight to defend itself. After a one-month fight, China withdrew, contending that it made its point.
Early on Deng set out a 70-year plan to a) double incomes and assure that the population had enough food and clothing by the end of the 1980s, b) quadruple GDP per capita by the end of the 20th century (which was achieved in 1995, five years ahead of schedule), and c) increase per capita GDP to the levels of medium-level developed countries by 2050 (at the 100th anniversary of the PRC). Underpinning that goal was a plan to dramatically improve China’s education system.\[21\] He wanted to have a socialist market economy, which he referred to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics” that would be achieved by taking in all facts to “seek truth from facts.” He made that radical shift without criticizing Mao or Marxism-Leninism, which he believed meant shared prosperity. Rather than seeing communism and capitalism at odds I am told that these seemingly opposing ideologies were seen through the lens of Marx’s dialectical materialism—i.e., believing that conflicting opposites naturally go together and that the conflicts between them and dealing with those conflicts naturally leads to resolutions of the conflicts, which produces progress along that long development arc. I am told that he saw this coexistence of communism and capitalism as a necessary phase along a development arc toward the ideal communist state. Also the continuity and the legitimacy of the government’s philosophy, while making big reform changes to make China richer and stronger, were very important, so the coexistence of communism and capitalism was clearly the right move for China.