Lance Gore

Senior research fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore

Lance Gore previously taught at several universities in the United States and Australia, and is currently a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute of National University of Singapore. His recent books include The Chinese Communist Party and China’s Capitalist Revolution: The Political Impact of Market and Chinese Politics Illustrated: The Social, Cultural and Historical Context. His current research is on the new technological revolution. He is working on two books, one examining the post-capitalist trends in the world and the policy and political implications for China, and the other on entrepreneurship in the public sector.

China Customs officers raise a Chinese flag during a rehearsal for a flag-raising ceremony along the Bund past buildings in the Lujiazui Financial District at sunrise in Shanghai, China, on 4 January 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The Chinese ruling party needs a new pact with the people to forge a more humane and self-confident nation

Lance Gore notes the transitional nature of the third historical resolution passed by the Communist Party of China (CPC) recently. It kept Pandora’s box closed, leaving issues of history unresolved. Will the CPC use a fourth historical resolution to build a pact with the people to forge a vibrant, humane, self-confident nation on the world stage?
People sit on a ferry as the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center are seen on 5 December 2021 in New York City, US. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP)

Why democracy is failing and why some authoritarian regimes might just work

Lance Gore notes that US President Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy is one that will fade away just as quickly as it appeared. Fundamentally, the summit and the “good versus evil” dichotomy it espouses is way past its time. With democracies today, not least the US, facing issues of decline and some authoritarian regimes offering practical governance and livelihood solutions, the clash of systems is just not so clear-cut. In fact, if China irons out some of the kinks in its system, it may become a model of benign authoritarianism that others may find worth emulating.
A man holds a mobile phone in front of an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 11 November 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China turning inward? China has always been a civilisation unto its own

The pandemic and China's zero-Covid policy have led some in the West to caution against the danger of China turning inward, closing its border to the world, building a man-made bubble, and adopting a closed nationalist discourse. But academic Lance Gore says China has always been a civilisation unto its own, and it now has both the means and reasons to decouple from the Western-led capitalist system to some extent, so as to pursue its own path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. This might bring some benefits to China but could also lead to their misreading of the world in the long run, and cause it greater pain when its efforts to lead and galvanise are not reciprocated.
Chinese national flags displayed at Wong Tai Sin Temple to mark National Day in Hong Kong, China, on 1 October 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

China's reputation in major countries is at its worst. Can it save itself?

China’s accomplishments in the past four decades deserve respect and emulation from many countries across the globe, despite disparagement from the West. However, China may squander this opportunity to gain goodwill by erring on two fronts: its attitude towards liberalism, and its handling of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s legacy. Making a wrong move on either of these fronts can easily diminish its chances of becoming “one of the good guys” in international politics.
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves at the end of the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can the CCP avoid the Stalin curse under Xi Jinping?

Fatal flaws in the Soviet system, or the Stalin curse, led to the eventual demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. These systemic flaws had different manifestations at different levels of the system. The current CCP leadership is aware of these problems and has tried hard to avoid travelling down the same path of the Soviet Union, but tinkering with the same Leninist vanguard party is not going to ensure its survival. Instead, a new model of party building is needed to break the Stalin curse.
Two men have their breakfast on the street in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China on 30 August 2021. Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a high-level meeting that “reviewed and approved” measures to fight monopolies, battle pollution and shore up strategic reserves, all areas that are crucial to his government’s push to improve the quality of life for the nation’s 1.4 billion people. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can China succeed in income distribution reform and get rid of its celebrity economy?

The assets of the top eight tycoons in the world have a combined worth of half the global population, says EAI academic Lance Gore, and the Chinese Communist Party faces a choice: Will China go down the old path of Western advanced capitalism, especially Anglo-American capitalism, and make the same mistakes as them? China has shown resolve in reforming its income distribution issues in various sectors including the entertainment industry. But it is not an easy path as vested interests may still interfere and the people can only rely on the self-purification of the Chinese Communist Party to uphold the regime’s people-centred nature.
A billboard featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed at a compound in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A new paradigm needed: China cannot achieve 'common prosperity' with Marxism and class struggle

While Marxism failed 30 years ago in the case of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party of today claims that it owes its success to the “theoretical advantage” of Marxism. However, rather than hanging on to ideological orthodoxy, a revolution of ideologies is needed to steer the building of an inclusive and harmonious society undergoing the fourth industrialisation. In the new paradigm, much thought will need to go into thinking through knotty issues such as the role of the market in socialism, the value of labour in a hi-tech economy and the role that entrepreneurs can play as builders of socialism.
A bolt of lightning crosses the sky as people look at buildings displaying a light show on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, China, on 30 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

'Winner takes all' no more: China is ready to build the socialist regulatory state

After observing, learning about and experimenting with selected components of capitalism, China is now ready to govern the market in its own style, to create the society of a new socialist regulatory state while bolstering support for the government. Lance Gore says it holds true, whether in China's history or the imagined fairer future society, that Chinese merchants and capital must see their contributions through the larger lens of society and the nation. That is, the capital market must serve the real economy and develop the productive strength of the nation. Creating the socialist regulatory state is like doing a "delicate dance", and as a new creation, there would be chances of missteps and even mishaps.
People look at images showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China that was opened ahead of the 100th founding anniversary of the Party in Beijing, China, 25 June 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

'Red peril' or benign power: How different is China's CCP from USSR's CPSU?

Whether the Communist Party of China will escape the fate of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union depends greatly on the extent to which it has rooted out the six major ills that plagued the Soviet system. Only then can it rise smoothly and peacefully to the benefit of the world.