On May 18, 2020 the Global Times newspaper, the People’s Daily’s sibling publication, reported the announcement of President Xi Jinping of China regarding the country’s plans for the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing.
The headline of the report was “China’s Covid-19 vaccine to become global public good when available: Xi.”
In economics, the term “public good” is defined as “a commodity or service that is provided without profit to all members of a society, either by government or a private individual or organization.” In Xi’s announcement it was very specific that the public is the “global public.”
President Xi Jinping was speaking as a head of government and leader of a nation, and in declaring that China’s Covid-19 vaccine when it is finally introduced for medical use, will be provided to the World without profit.
That is, China will be providing its Covid-19 vaccine to the World without profit, but of course the cost would be recouped. That is reasonable and really generous and benevolent. It is also wise and healthy for all, as a pandemic can never be stamped out while there are poor nations that harbor the virus.
In contrast to China’s offer of its vaccine for the dreaded Covid-19, the U.S. is tethered to the profit motive in developing its Covid-19 vaccine. There are endless anecdotes about the dilemmas this profit seeking U.S. system creates.
In February of 2020 in a congressional hearing on the yet unfolding Covid-19 outbreak in the U.S., Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told inquiring Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) that although he would want to make the vaccine affordable, he cannot guarantee it. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” he said.
The American media and public raised a howl to Azar’s answer as it is those who cannot afford who will need it most and will continue to be the vector or carriers of the virus if it is not affordable and administered to them.
In March 2020 Germany’s Health Ministry confirmed a report in newspaper Welt am Sonntag that President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure the CureVac to the U.S. to make it exclusively for the U.S. Although later denied, it does not erase the dint of monopoly profit seeking of the U.S.
The financial press has been reporting the rise of pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks as investors are paying special attention to health investments in anticipation of the winners in the Covid-19 vaccine race, expecting the huge payoffs at the end of the pandemic vaccine rainbow.
But with China’s “global public goods” perspective pushing cost-based and not profit-based Covid-19 vaccines, profit seeking pharma and biotechnology firms of the West will certainly find a dampening factor to the bonanza they seek from the pandemic.
President Xi Jinping’s announcement comes at a very timely juncture to provide the contrast between its global philosophy and vision to that of the U.S. and some other countries in the West.
China has been unceasing efforts to introduce a new global vision of a cooperative world embodied in several principles of world relations and governance. China has embodied this vision in the motto “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.”
For several years now, China has been espousing and repeating this motto to convey to the World, particularly to the U.S., that it seeks a world with a balanced power sharing structure, i.e. the Multi-polar World and enhancement of global trade and commerce of which its Belt and Road Initiative is a model.
Central to China’s global vision is “sharing” as it appears at the very center of the motto, i.e. “Shared Future.” This attitude of “sharing” is the key to mankind’s harmonious future, sharing not only of the bounties of science and nature but also on duties and responsibilities to maintain life and the world.
This Covid-19 vaccine as “global public good” as sharing is a perfect example of the acts that China seeks and pursues to ensure that the “shared future” will happen and blossom as the future unfolds, otherwise a World in permanent plague can hold no prospect of tomorrow.
The history of the motto “Community of Shared Future for Mankind” is traced back to Party Secretary Hu Jintao’s speech to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, and Hu emphasized “mankind has only one earth to live on, and countries have only one world to share.”
So, the slogan has been in use for almost a decade yet few people in the World understand its importance, comprehend the breath of its vision and the sincerity with which it is advocated by China as a nation led by the Communist Party of China.
In my view, this slow comprehension by the World of China’s vision can be attributed to the following:
1) U.S. competitive attitude attempting to suppress any alterative world and economic-political view with its domination of global, English-based media, its extension languages (i.e. Europe) and its geopolitical client states (Saudi Arabia, Japan, et al);
2) Historical skepticism of the intentions of nation-states in foreign relations based solely “national interest” while China’s vision calls for “Win-Win” mutuality.
But China’s persistence in pursuing its vision and intentions slowly persuades more people to open their eyes to this idealism and humanist vision of China and its visionary leadership – the Communist Party of China.
The CPC is an ideological party and its leaders and members, all 90-million of them, are imbued with theories, ideas and the vision of the party. Ideological parties are unlike the electoral parties of the U.S. or the Philippines that take personal electoral ambition as the end-all and be-all of politics.
An ideological party and its members are imbued with conviction and commitment to certain ideas, advocacies and vision over and above self-interested motive. It doesn’t mean there are absolutely no ambitious individual in the party but that advancement cannot solely depend on ambition but requires performance based on the ideology.
Party leaders and members of an ideological party are attracted to the party by ideas, first and foremost. I know and understand this as I am one such person to be attracted only by ideas and vision for the greater good rather than self-interest. I can explain why this is so clear to me.
From my youth and student years to my adult life I have always been drawn to great causes and felt attached to one great leader or another that may not have always succeeded to land as powerful leaders. I continue to admire Muammar Gaddafi and have his photo praying in the desert on my wall, even though he has been much pilloried and finally succumb to Western imperialist murder.
In 2001 I assisted the deposed President Joseph E. Estrada not because I ever benefitted from his stint in power but because he was unjustly ousted, and in 2007 when he offered me the sure win of joining his senatorial line up I declined because I know the present political set up is a farce and I didn’t want to join the charade.
At the ripening old senior-age I continue to hold on to my ideals and vision even though many of my peers have joined the charade and become rich having rode on the back of the exploitative political system. Yes, I am a true believer that social philosopher Eric Hoffer defined. And I believe many CPC leaders and members are true believers and basically sincere and earnest.
China with its true believing leadership which arrived at its vision for its country and the World today and of the future, did not formulate its concept from out of empty air. It has an ideological framework which it calls scientific socialism to arrive at its vision based on empirical and theoretical lessons of hundreds of years of accumulated knowledge.
Suffice it to say, in this short piece that the vision China presents before the World and by which practice it offers such novel ideas to this milieu today as this “global public good” from the Covid-19 vaccine it will be producing and distributing to the poorest of the poor of our World to ensure the plagued is ended and World order and growth is restored the soonest.
This is another giant step to ‘Kuya China’s role as eldest brother to the global “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.” (ia/SovereignPH.com)