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May 18·edited May 18Liked by Glenn Luk

Really insightful analysis of the LGFVs, I learned a thing or two.

As for a good measurement of the social returns, I'd propose something a bit more old-school identified by Marx already in Grundrisse: free time. That is, free time for the full and universal development of the individual. This is something the CPC can easily adopt. Even infrastructural investments such as the HSR or improved communications (5G, Alipay) can be seen from that light: e.g an hour-long trip reduced to 2 minutes via a Guizhou bridge or robotics displacing blue-collar work up until the average Chinese worker can have a more relaxed, lengthy and fruitful life. This WILL come intro contradiction with China's emphasis on accumulation rather than freeing up time for society. It's a feature of capital after all that all the improvements in its productivity go towards its further accumulation, rather than freeing up the labourer's time.

Leaving this insightful Marx quote too:

"The saving of labour time [is] equal to an increase of free time, i.e. time for the full development of the individual, which in turn reacts back upon the productive power of labour as itself the greatest productive power. From the standpoint of the direct production process it can be regarded as the production of fixed capital, this fixed capital being man himself. It goes without saying, by the way, that direct labour time itself cannot remain in the abstract antithesis to free time in which it appears from the perspective of bourgeois economy… Free time – which is both idle time and time for higher activity – has naturally transformed its possessor into a different subject, and he then enters into the direct production process as this different subject. This process is then both discipline, as regards the human being in the process of becoming; and, at the same time, practice [Ausübung], experimental science, materially creative and objectifying science, as regards the human being who has become, in whose head exists the accumulated knowledge of society.”

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