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Leap into Modernity – Political Economy of Growth on the Periphery, 1943–1980


Adam Leszczyński

This book describes struggles of different countries and their development after World War II. It presents a panorama of different ideologies of accelerated development, which dominated the world just before the war and in the next 40 years. The author explains why in the 1970s global and local elites began to turn away from the state, exchanging statism for the belief in the «invisible hand of the market» as a panacea for underdevelopment. He focuses not only on the genesis of underdevelopment, but also on the causes of popularity of economic planning, and the advent of neoliberalism in the discourse of development economics. This book evaluates the power of state as a vehicle of progress and focuses in detail on the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Korea.

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Chapter 4. The Four Seas are rising

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So many deeds cry out to be done,

And always urgently;

The world rolls on,

Time presses

Ten thousand years are too long,

Seize the day, seize the hour!

The Four Seas are rising, clouds and waters raging,

The Five Continents are rocking, wind and thunder roaring.

Our force is irresistible,

Away with all pests!

Mao, 1950424

“Greater, Faster, Better, More Economical.”

One of the most popular slogans from the time of the Great Leap Forward425

Chapter 4.The Four Seas are rising

1.Somebody told Mao

In the 1980s, economist Colin Clark, a pioneer in the theory of development in underdeveloped countries, recalled that:

Somebody had told Mao […] that about one-third of China’s agricultural labor force was redundant and should be transferred to other employment. This was in fact attempted in the Year of the Great Leap Forward, 1958, when Mao apparently believed (at any rate for a time) what had been told him about the harvest having been doubled in a single year. The result was what now has been admitted to have been a disastrous famine.426

Clark added that one needed only to make “reference to the already abundant information” on the Chinese economy in order to learn the truth: there was simply a shortage of hands available for work. “After all, to put it simply, if you are going to cultivate a country the size of China with hand hoes – very few draft ←149 | 150→animals and still fewer tractors were available – you are going to need the labor of something like 600 million people.”427

Mao’s recipe for backwardness had, generally speaking, much in common with the idea for how to make the leap into modernization, a prevalent concept at the time. The nationalization of industry and government planning were to allow consumption to be kept under control and the “extraction” from the economy of reserves for investment – ostensibly squandered earlier by rich, parasitical elites. These investments were of course to be made by the state, mainly in heavy and machine industry, and ideally on projects that were grand in scale – in keeping with the conviction that scale guarantees more effective results. Only at some vaguely defined but not too distant point in the future, after the country’s productive energies had been more fully developed, would the moment come to invest in raising the standard of living, that is, in residential construction and light industry.

As in the case of the USSR, Mao’s primary strategy was based to a considerable extent on the export of agricultural products, and later basic industrial products at low prices (the state needed hard currency for the import of machines and unavailable raw materials). The plan promised success – socialism and comfortable living – at the price of one or two generations’ blood, sweat and tears. In the 1950s, this sounded more realistic than today: at the time, it was possible to think that a similar strategy was working wonderfully in the USSR, which was then enjoying the best period, economically speaking, in its short history (in the late 1950s various consumer goods began to appear in the homes of ordinary citizens; Stalinist asceticism quickly faded into the past). From the point of view of the Communist Party’s collective interest, this economic ideology also had the important benefit of providing added justification (in addition to a purely doctrinal rationale) for the concentration of all mechanisms of power in its hands.

From the perspective of Western economic theory in that era, as well, the ideas being proposed in China did not seem blatantly absurd. After all, the development models that were popular then – those of Nurkse and Lewis – proposed that underdeveloped countries replace capital with labour and control over consumption, as well as with foreign trade. China, a poor country, did not possess capital, and the West would not have lent it – at any rate, not on terms that would have been politically acceptable to both sides at the time. There appeared to be an abundance of free hands available for work. Therefore, China was to reach modernity by the work of its own hands – the way Baron Münchhausen in the famous tale pulled himself out of the swamp by the pigtail of his wig.

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Mao’s economic thinking thus fits into the broader current of statist thought of his epoch. As an economic ideologue he was nevertheless exceptional, and not only due to his historically rare level of unscrupulousness and nonchalant disregard for the life of his subjects. He even made his own particular ideological contribution to economic theory: the conviction, carried to its extreme consequences, that every aspect of social life is political, and that politics is a force that can bring about a radical transformation of society – even in the most unfavourable material conditions. When material incentives to work were liquidated during the Cultural Revolution, this was an expression of precisely this conviction: that, in fact, ideology determines everything, the superstructure determines the base. Classical Marxist relations between political and economic structures were reversed in his thought.

In 1949 Mao became absolute ruler of an enormous and ancient country, but one that was incredibly poor and weak economically and militarily. In 1937, before the war with Japan, the railways in China covered a length of some 20,000 kilometres, approximately the same distance as in the Second Polish Republic, which was 1/30 its size (furthermore, Poland was then by European standards a poor country with an underdeveloped infrastructure). China also had 30,000 km of paved roads – less than half of that in Poland.428

Mao ruled a country that was almost certainly poorer than Russia before Lenin’s revolution – the GDP per capita was 2/3 lower in China even in 1949 compared to Russia in 1913. The economic structure of both giants was nonetheless similar: in both countries about 80 percent of the population worked in farming, producing slightly more than half of the GDP. The average life expectancy for a Chinese citizen born in 1930 was under 35 years. Historian and economist Charles Bramall claims that China in the 1950s was not only lagging behind Europe by at least two centuries, but more underdeveloped than Great Britain before the industrial revolution.429

2.Five meals a day

On 4 August 1958, Mao visited the region of Xushui in the province of Hebei not far from Beijing. He was in a rapturous mood: reports were coming in from throughout the country about records harvests of cotton, rice and wheat. He ←151 | 152→walked through fields surrounded by journalists and local dignitaries, wondering out loud what to do with the food surplus:430

“How are you going to eat so much grain? What are you going to do with the surplus?”

“We can exchange it for machinery,” Zhang responded after a pause for thought.

“But you are not the only one to have a surplus, others too have too much grain! Nobody will want your grain!” Mao shot back with a benevolent smile.

“We can make spirits out of taro,” suggested another cadre.

“But every county will make spirits! How many tonnes of spirits do we need?” Mao mused. “With so much grain, in future you should plant less, work half time and spend the rest of your time on culture and leisurely pursuits, open schools and a university, don’t you think? … You should eat more. Even five meals a day is fine!”431

Soon after the Chairman made these prescriptions, people were not only not eating five meals a day, but were beginning to die of hunger on a massive scale.

The road to this catastrophe was long and complex. The Communists carried out agrarian reform (by today’s estimates 5 percent of the rural population classified as “landlords” owned between 37 percent and 44 percent of all arable land).432 The process was bloody – Mao himself admitted that around 700,000 “counterrevolutionaries” were shot or beaten to death in the years 1950–1952. It also had far-reaching consequences, because families classified as having “‘bad class’ backrounds” were discriminated against on the basis of their status as late as the 1970s. In spite or perhaps because of that, the reform turned out to be popular. It was also radicalized and accelerated after the outbreak of war in Korea: by other estimates, between 2 and 5 million “landlords” lost their lives during the reform.433

In cities – after an initial purge carried out against “spies and counterrevolutionaries,” during which a few hundred thousand people were killed – Mao early on demonstrated astonishing restraint (he advised executing only “10 to 20 percent” ←152 | 153→of those “deserving capital punishment,” and granting the rest a reprieve).434 The regime also had spectacular successes: in a short and brutal campaign, the Communists eliminated a number of social plagues, including prostitution, gambling and drugs. Poppy cultivation was wiped out, dealers were shot, and drugs publicly burned during great mass propaganda rallies (according to meticulously gathered government statistics, exactly 764,423 such events were organized, with 74,595,181 people attending). By the end of 1952, all addicts, according to official data, had been cured and drug addiction had ceased to exist as a problem.435

Hyperinflation, which had plagued the final years of the Kuomintang governments, had disappeared, and the property of foreigners nationalized. The new regime appeared to be resistant to corruption, which positively distinguished it from the previous one. Even beggars had been eliminated from the streets and sent to re-education collectives, and those working in now-closed brothels – to factories, where they would be trained to perform socially useful work. A “patriotic health campaign” was also carried out, in which people were mobilized to clean up cities and dig new latrines.

The 505 km-long railway line from Chongqing to Chengdu, stuck in the planning stages for over 40 years, was finished in two years.436 What earlier had been unfeasible suddenly turned out to be possible.

Mao’s policy toward Chinese business was also relatively liberal at first: today’s historians often compare it with Lenin’s NEP. The government spoke of a “united national front” in which the working class would lead the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie toward a strong, modern China.

The time for revolutionary acceleration was fast approaching, however. In December 1949, shortly after coming to power, Mao took a Chinese delegation to Moscow. In addition to a not very favourable friendship agreement (with no formal terms concluded for technical assistance and in which the USSR lent China only $300 million – less than was lent to Poland’s Bierut), he brought back a ←153 | 154→model of socialist industrialization.437 It was more an idea than a precise prescription. Among the several hundred books hastily translated at that time from Russian, few were devoted to technology and economics: most were works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, and textbooks on dialectical materialism.

Beginning in 1950, Mao created an apparatus for planning and managing industry based on the Soviet model, which the Chinese imitated without being aware of its weaknesses. In the first phase of investment, 700 factories were to be built, 156 of which were to be supplied by the USSR, including 24 power stations, as well as steelworks, refineries and chemical plants. Shortly before the initiation of the first Five-Year Plan in 1953 (in keeping with good socialist tradition, its ultimate shape was finalized two years later, after it had already begun) Mao also began the Five-anti Campaign, intended to purge “bourgeois experts” from industry. Nationalization accelerated and single-person management was introduced in state enterprises together with systems of norms and payment contracts based on Soviet models. This plan envisaged that industrial production would double over five years, and that agricultural production would rise by a quarter. Twenty percent of the GDP was allocated toward investment, while over half of the investment budget was to be earmarked for heavy industry – more than in the first Soviet Five-Year Plan!

The first plan proved to be an impressive success – not only on paper, but in all likelihood, in reality as well.438 Production was supposed to grow by 14.7 percent yearly; it was almost certainly 3 percent higher than that.439 As in the case of Stalin, the investment was financed at the expense of rural areas – buying peasants’ goods at artificially low prices set by the state. And, like Stalin, Mao had problems with agriculture, to which he sought solutions in collectivization.

After these first experiences, in March 1955, Mao shared with his fellow Chinese the thought that building socialism was going to take some time:

It is no easy job to build a socialist society in a large country like ours with its complicated conditions and its formerly very backward economy. We may be able to build a socialist society over three five-year plans, but to build a strong, highly industrialized socialist country will require several decades of hard work, say, fifty years, or the entire second half of the present century.440

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Paradoxically, the Chairman was right – 50 years later, China was in fact one of the world’s great economic powers. Credit for this achievement, however, was not due to Chairman Mao.

In texts written in late 1955, as noted by historian of Maoism and critical editor of Mao’s letters Stuart Schram, foreshadowings of the coming Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution are already beginning to appear: among these were “Mao’s belief in the omnipotence of the subjective efforts of the mobilized masses to transform themselves and their environment.”441 This was a reversal of classical Marxist thought, which placed emphasis on the material base of production and property relations, while tending to perceive social phenomena as secondary and derivative. For Mao, China’s peasant class, not the great industrial proletariat, was to carry out the great transformation. Writing on the successes of farming cooperatives, which through their own efforts in three years had accumulated “a large quantity of the means of production”, Mao commented: “In a few decades, why can’t 600 million paupers, by their own efforts, create a socialist country, rich and strong?” Elsewhere, in December 1955, he added that “Chinese peasants are even better than English and American workers.”442

Collectivization accelerated dramatically, and although it took with it – according to very approximate estimates – as many as two million victims, Mao considered it a success. In spite of the high number of deaths, the operation was carried out more efficiently and humanely than its Soviet counterpart: the kulaks were usually not liquidated or resettled, only dispossessed,443 and farm production did not collapse as it did in the USSR.

This success led Mao to publish his first critical consideration of the Soviet model of socialism. In April 1956 he had this to say on collectivization:

We have done better than the Soviet Union and a number of Eastern European countries. The prolonged failure of the Soviet Union to reach the highest pre- October Revolution level in grain output, the grave problems arising from the glaring disequilibrium between the development of heavy industry and that of light industry in some Eastern European countries – such problems do not exist in our country […] The Soviet Union has taken measures which squeeze the peasants very hard […] The method of capital accumulation has seriously dampened the peasants’ enthusiasm for production. You want ←155 | 156→the hen to lay more eggs and yet you do not feed it, you want the horse to run fast and yet you don’t let it graze. What kind of logic is this?444

After the short and abandoned experiment with open public debate during the “Let a hundred flowers bloom” campaign in 1956 – this debate had quickly begun to evolve in a direction that was uncomfortable for Mao and the party, and was therefore shut down – the Chairman, at the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party in 1957, announced the Great Leap Forward.

Putting aside poetic metaphors, the Great Leap Forward consisted of a few simple but radical economic policy prescriptions. The most important of these was an increase in investment to record levels, unseen anywhere else in the world at the time (or afterward in Mao’s China). According to later estimates, in 1960 China invested over 31 percent of its GDP.445 That meant a radical reduction in consumption levels, and thus – in such a poverty-stricken country – the risk of famine.

The second element in the plan was an enormous transfer of the workforce from the production of consumer goods – particularly food – to the production of such goods as steel and iron.

The third element in the Great Leap Forward was a radical restructuring of the institutions where production took place. That meant chiefly the establishment of a new type of trade cooperative – the “people’s communes” – in autumn 1958. Collectivization, which had not yet been completed, was to be accelerated. The new communes were considerably larger than the village production cooperatives created earlier: the aim was to take advantage of the positive (it was felt) effect of this larger scale. In the communes, production and consumption were to take place in conjunction. People ate in great cafeterias, and 70 percent of food was allocated at no cost, with 30 percent awarded as a bonus for good work results. This cut the link between the quality of work and subsistence – a member of the collective, at least in theory, could get enough to eat regardless of whether he worked productively or not (motivation was supposed to be other than material). Another aim was to liberate women from domestic duties. Cooking separately for each family appeared to be a manifest waste of time and effort that could be put to more socially beneficial uses. This gigantic social and economic restructuring project included ambitious production goals, which, in addition, were systematically raised.

Enthusiasm for the Great Leap Forward was, if one believes contemporary reports, to a great degree authentically felt. Novelist Zhou Libo described the ←156 | 157→future plans of a communist youth group leader in a village in southern China, who was fascinated by the “Iron Buffalo” – that is, the village’s first tractor:

After the co-operative is established, I’m going to propose that we do away with all the ridges between the fields, and make small plots into large ones. With large fields, the Iron Buffalo [tractor] can go into the water. […] When we’ve built a reservoir, all the dry fields in the village will be irrigated, and even after paying tax we shan’t be able to eat all the grain we grow. We’ll send the surplus grain to help feed the workers in industry. Won’t that be wonderful! Then they, all smiles, will come in their jeeps to the countryside, and say to us, “Hello, peasant-brothers, would you like to have electric light here?” “Yes, paraffin lamps are really too inconvenient and wasteful.” “Very well, we’ll install it. Do you want the telephone?” “Yes, we want that as well”[…] With electric light, telephone, lorries, and tractors, we shall live more comfortably than they do in the city, because we have the beautiful landscape and the fresh air. There’ll be flowers all the year round and wild fruit, more than we can eat […].446

Mao’s radicalism arose from his belief – apparent in all of his later writings – that any pause on the road to socialism, in the process of reshaping social and economic relations, threatened to move things backward. Agrarian reform had been correct at the previous stage; now there was a threat of capitalist relations returning to the countryside, “as the better-off peasants strove to get richer while the poorer fell into debt.” The communes were a revolutionary improvisation: at the beginning of the collectivization campaign in 1955, Mao was not yet thinking in this direction. He also had an economic argument – production results indicated convincingly that small farms were less productive – and an increase in farming productivity was absolutely necessary, due both to the quickly growing population and to the needs of industrialization.

The beginning of the Great Leap was signalled by a water-conservancy and irrigation campaign carried out in the winter of 1957–1958, when people were free from farming work. Cooperatives and neighbouring (still) private landholders carried out work that was impressive in its scale. According to estimates made by the Chinese press, every sixth Chinese citizen – 100 million people – went into the fields with shovels. As a result of this “crash campaign”, construction work was shoddy and badly planned, and there were “disastrous” changes in the ground-water table and soil quality that only came to light later.447

The notion of using the surplus manpower in the countryside to upgrade/modernize the backward infrastructure was not new – it was being popularized in the ←157 | 158→West at that time by the economist Ragnar Nurkse. Mao, however, took it to an absurd extreme. The 1958 harvests were good, but the yield was mostly taken from farmers for export abroad: the Russians were demanding remuneration for their technical support, and hard currency was needed for the importation of machines. In addition, relations with the USSR (which had given China 7.4 billion rubles in the years 1952–1957, at that time equivalent to almost 2 billion dollars) were beginning to worsen, and whether further aid could be counted on was unclear.448 Between 30 percent and 44 percent of the harvest was taken from the peasants.449 Farming was also being deprived of manpower, with communes ordered to build industry and villagers being sent to work in factories.

In 1957, it was already clear that collectivization had negatively impacted farm production, which had grown by 1 percent that year, less than the population. Worse yet, at the very beginning of the great industrialization program, Chinese farming was already 50 percent less productive than Soviet farming in 1929. The attempt to “squeeze” the peasantry for resources – both labour and capital – to build heavy industry therefore brought with it the threat of an even greater societal catastrophe than in the USSR.

All of this, however, remained outside the reach of Mao’s interests; sooner or later, Mao would silence anyone who might have directed his attention to these growing problems. In 1956 a purge took place among “bourgeois rightist economists”, including those like Lin Lifu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who claimed that excessive acceleration of the collectivization of farming could lead to unfavourable results, or those like Chen Chenchan of the University of Beijing, who claimed that China might have something to learn from Western, bourgeois economics. Both were publicly condemned and never heard from again.450 In 1957 the office of statistics was reformed; now nobody would dare to question the reports sent in by provincial Party leaders to the Chairman, which were notoriously tampered with at the higher echelons of the bureaucracy, becoming sheer ministerial fiction by the time they reached the Politburo.

Mao was well aware, of course, that his subordinates often lied. For this reason, he spent time travelling around the country and personally inspecting the progress of the “Great Leap.” He eagerly talked with ordinary people, as well. From the technicians in the Ministry of Metallurgy he learned that China could ←158 | 159→overtake Great Britain in the production of iron not in fifteen years – as he had postulated as one of the campaign’s main goals – but in ten. In Sichuan, he saw how workers in a steelworks increased production by retooling aging machinery according to their own designs. Elsewhere he heard that thanks to the expansion of the irrigation system, yields had risen by a factor of 70. These absurdly high results were confirmed by Chinese scientists and trumpeted in propaganda.

Still, Party secretaries sometimes managed to outsmart the Chairman. Village furnaces were built specially close to the tracks so that Mao could see them from the train. Women were told to wear colourful, festive clothing. In the province of Hubei, the Party secretary ordered rice to be moved from distant fields and planted along the route of Mao’s journey, so that he could not miss how plentiful the harvest was. The rice was planted so densely that it had to be surrounded with electric fans – otherwise, the too-densely packed crop would have rotted.

The Chairman was carried away by this atmosphere of success – as did his inner circle. “My enthusiasm,” he said, may seem “madly arrogant”, but he believed that it was simply “revolutionaries who seek the truth from facts … uniting the Russian revolutionary zeal with the American spirit of realism!”451

By the end of 1958, the whole country had been collectivized into 26,000 communes. Outwardly, everything was going wonderfully. The harvests were splendid – as it would soon turn out, this was due to unusually favourable weather, not Party policy. There was also a jump in industrial production, but mainly because of the recent activation of the first factories built through a Chinese-Soviet partnership (with black clouds already gathering overhead, since Russia was in the midst of de-Stalinization, which was viewed with suspicion by Mao, who saw a threat in this to himself).

The Chairman singled out for praise two solutions introduced in the communes which would prove to be catastrophic. The first was the cafeterias, where eating together was mandatory for everyone. Because there was no direct connection between what a peasant gathered in the field and what he ate, this greatly weakened people’s motivation to work (only 30 percent of the food allowance was dependent on work productivity).452 Later it emerged that in the regions where the cafeterias were most popular, famine was fiercest.453 The second, equally catastrophic idea was the introduction of the Dazhai reward system of “points” awarded for work. In practice, however, the points were awarded not ←159 | 160→so much for work as for revolutionary fervour and political engagement. This was another break with the Stalinist system, which had not given up on money as an incentive to work harder, and which always, by rewarding high-profiled “shock workers”[Rus. udarnik], had placed heavy emphasis on material incentives (which posed no obstacle to talking at length about the struggle for socialism). The contract system of payment introduced in the USSR in the 1930s brutally enforced productivity. Mao believed that faith and fervour would provide stronger motivation.

The first unsettling signs of impending economic collapse reached members of the Politburo toward the end of winter in 1959, when they were visiting the communes. What they saw gave them an unpleasant shock. The old marshal Peng Dehuai – who was soon to turn against Mao publicly – visited several provinces and saw everywhere starving peasants, while from party activists he heard complaints (in private) about the excesses of the Great Leap.454

The Chairman began to retreat, though not very deftly, from certain ideas. In February 1959 he tried halting the transfer of peasants’ private property to the communes without recompensation and criticized the policy of equal remuneration for all work brigades without regard to their productivity. In the months that followed, he encouraged the provincial secretaries to exercise moderation and reprimanded those who claimed that peasants were hiding rice. In early spring, while meeting with state planner Chen Yunem, an economist with moderate views, Mao agreed to dissolve the communes and return to the brigade system (meaning in practice the older, smaller form of cooperative), dissolve the cafeterias, return private peasant land, and reduce steel production goals.

It is very possible that if there had not been an attempt to remove Mao from power, the Great Leap might have ended there – and we would not today be counting the victims in the tens of millions. According to Chinese estimates, by the middle of 1959 120,000 people had died of hunger.455

3.The Great Famine

The attempt to oust Mao from power took place during a Party conference in the beautiful mountain district of Lushan in July 1959. How real the threat was in reality remains a matter of dispute among historians.

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Mao’s challenger, if he really had one, acted alone. Peng Duhai, Defence Minister and an old comrade of the Chairman’s from their days fighting as partisans, wrote a letter to Mao that was essentially a protest against the abuses of “the Great Leap. “I am a simple man and indeed I am crude and lack tact,” the letter began. “For this reason, whether this letter is of value or not to you is for you to decide. Please correct me wherever I am wrong.” Peng praised the achievements of Chinese industry, including the farmstead furnaces, and foresaw that China would overtake Great Britain not in ten years, but in four. At the same time, he wrote about problems: the waste of natural and human resources and the overstatement of production figures. Although the letter was on the whole measured and cautious, some passages were insulting to the Chairman, including mentions of “petty-bourgeois fanaticism leading to leftist errors” and the statement that “dealing with economic construction does not come quite as easily as bombing Quemoy or dealing with Tibet” (Mao’s most recent foreign policy successes).456

The Chairman reportedly was unable to sleep that night. Two days later he called a meeting of the whole Politburo in his villa, where he greeted his comrades in a bathrobe and slippers. He condemned Peng Dehuai bitterly: the old marshal, he said, was part of a rightist attack on the “Great Leap”. He declared Peng a “right opportunist” with aspirations to power, and refused to allow him to respond or defend himself, skilfully dodging his accusations. He remarked to the remaining comrades that they were all jointly responsible for the Great Leap Forward and demanded that they declare their loyalty. “If the Chinese People’s Liberation Army should follow Peng Dehaui, I will go to fight guerilla war,” he threatened theatrically.457 In August the Central Committee officially pronounced Peng Huhai to be the leader of an “anti-Party clique”: this marked his end.

If this was what an attempt to seize power from Mao looked like, it had been executed with exceptional ineptitude. Nobody stood in Peng Duchai’s defence. Perhaps their fear resulted from the fact that purges had been carried out among Party elites during the “anti-right” campaign in 1957, and this was still fresh in everyone’s memory. Perhaps Peng acted alone, or, as some historians speculate, without informing his followers, if he had any, that he was writing a letter to Mao.458

In practical terms, the condemnation and downfall of the marshal also meant that any criticism of the Great Leap whatsoever had now become unthinkable – since Mao had placed his critic among the ranks of “right opportunists.” He, ←161 | 162→too, was now unable to turn back, though it is not clear that he desired to do so. Although the Chairman admitted that the plans for an increase in steel production were unrealistic, he quickly went back to this idea and declared: “We’ll do 100 million tons in ten years, and then we’ll be in heaven.”459 Paradise seemed within reach. In 1958, 10.7 million tonnes of iron were produced in backyard furnaces – the target set by the Chairman – but it was low in quality and essentially useless, and a great many tools and machines had been melted down in the process.460 Any doubts voiced were drowned out by propaganda. A professor of agricultural sciences, who was a student at the time, recalled many years later in a conversation with an American historian:

There was a saying about Daqing, the model oilfield, “When the oil workers shout with all their might, the great earth will shake and tremble.” This slogan says the earth must listen to the orders of humans. It is wrong. It violates the laws of nature. That’s what they tried to do during the Leap. There was a photograph of some children standing on top of a field of rice. It was impossible, but that’s how dense our rice was supposed to be. Our university also falsified figures. By the university gate there is a field about a mu large. […] The leaders decided that this one little piece of land should produce 10,000 jin of rice. We students had to take the rice shoots from several mu of fields, and, all day and all night, even by lamplight, bind them together and squeeze them into the field, although they were already rotting. The peasants came from the surrounding farmland to see what on earth we could be doing – after all we were an agricultural college! But even the professors had no way of resisting, because everyone was competing with each other to produce higher figures. It was not a normal time. There was pressure everywhere.461

The enormous country was plunged into chaos and destruction. It is unclear to what extent Mao was aware of what was going on. At the Party’s instructions, people killed flies, mosquitoes and rats. Sparrows were killed as well, since Mao was convinced they were eating the harvest; when he finally understood that they eat insects, he redirected the campaign toward the fight against bed-bugs.462 This resulted in a catastrophic famine. In terms of the number of victims, it was the greatest such disaster in history.

The famine was not only the result of the Party’s economic policies. The scale of the tragedy was further heightened – as in Ukraine in the 1930s – by requisitions carried out to feed the cities. The portion of grain harvested allocated for ←162 | 163→each city dweller rose by 70 percent in the years 1958–1960, but due to poor harvests, food was lacking in the cities, as well. In Beijing, as Mao’s doctor remembered, “there were almost no people on the streets, and those who were, were thin and listless.”463 Like the USSR during its famine, Mao’s China continued to export food abroad even as its people starved.464 China also instituted a costly policy of buying favour with newly independent African countries by giving them loans in hard currency that could have been used to import food; for example, in 1960, at the height of the famine, Mao lent Guinea 25 million dollars.465

There is no way to estimate the full extent of the damage caused by the Great Leap Forward. Beginning in 1958, old mud buildings were systematically demolished in order to use them as fertilizer; wooden constructions were burned in backyard furnaces to smelt iron. Forests and parks were cut down. Militias seized whatever they deemed suitable for use by the communes – sometimes killing the owners in the process. In 1960 the situation in the countryside was so dire that families were eating cotton. Animals were slaughtered en masse; according to official statistics, in the province of Hunan the number of pigs decreased by ¾ in the years 1958–1961.

The country was ceasing to function. Transport came to a halt; factories lacked parts for their machinery. To make matters worse, the weather, which had been favourable for the Party in 1958, took a turn for the worse. The Yellow River flooded, killing – directly and through hunger brought on by the destruction of the harvest – almost 2 million people. Industrial production collapsed: in 1961 it fell from the previous year by nearly half.466

People ate the bark off trees – those that were still standing. Cases of cannibalism were reported. Husbands sold their wives – for food, because money had lost its value. Bands of starving peasants attacked trains and warehouses containing food. “‘Nobody cried when a family member died. You just carried on as usual,’ she said. ‘No fear of death, no emotion for the living’,” a female survivor of the famine later recalled in an interview.467

In 1960, the first, fragmentary information about the famine reached the West, but the Chinese government pronounced it to be merely propaganda and ←163 | 164→rejected offers of aid. The true scale of the catastrophe remained unknown for a long time, though many refugees from China – a great many people crossed into Hong Kong, for example – brought with them horrifying news.468

Throughout the summer of 1960, a group of Politburo members who understood what was happening tried to convince Mao of the need for “consolidation” after the recent series of natural disasters, and that China should begin importing grain. In October the Chairman’s office received its first report from the region of Xinyang in the province of Henan, which Mao had earlier deemed a model. The report spoke of a massive famine, which had killed not 18,000 people, as earlier estimates asserted, but 80,000. Mao was shocked, but immediately perceived in the situation the hostile actions of class enemies. He agreed to send a mission composed of members of the Politburo to study the matter on the ground.

In Xinyang they found an empty, devastated land. The few peasants who survived were sheltering themselves from the winter cold in the ruins of demolished buildings, which had no windows, doors, or roofs – they could be burned for fuel. In the barren fields there were only graves. In total, over a million people died or disappeared in Xinyang in 1960, and of these, 67,000 were clubbed to death by militia squads composed of Party activists assigned to requisition the last grains of rice.

Bad people have seized power, causing beatings, deaths, grain shortages and hunger. The democratic revolution has not been completed, as feudal forces, full of hatred towards socialism, are stirring up trouble, sabotaging socialist productive forces.469

This was Mao’s diagnosis. He put the burden of blame on “rich landowners” and “counter-revolutionary elements”. He never admitted making a mistake. A radical purge of local Party dignitaries, however, was immediately carried out – thousands of people were arrested for merely having zealously done what a few months earlier had been expected of them. After having caused 45 million deaths, the Great Leap Forward was officially ended.

American intelligence reports on China give us an idea of what the Western world was able to find out about the situation. In 1961–1966, analysts wrote mainly about China’s economic problems, which were thought to make it impossible for it to achieve an international position on a par with that of the US or the USSR. First of all, they considered China to be overpopulated, and its low level of technological development and enormous birth rate meant that China ←164 | 165→was condemned to face constant problems feeding its citizens. China’s fate was, in the words of one such report, a constant “race between food production and population growth.” In addition, China was investing badly, according to American analysts, both from an ideological perspective, but also because its elites were driven by “extreme nationalism.” That was why the bitter lesson of the Great Leap Forward would, in their view, be quickly forgotten.

Beginning in 1964, the Americans predicted that China would return to a path of accelerated investment in heavy industry and armaments, even if doing so threatened a return of hunger. “China [could] not become a modern industrial state for many years”, they concluded. The Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) of 1961 predicted that China would become one of the three most important producers of coal, steel and electricity over the next ten years, but that “its people will continue to subsist on a barely adequate diet in good [harvest] years, and suffer shortages in bad years.”470 This was not far from the truth: China would not return to the per capita food production levels achieved during the good harvests in 1956–1958 until twenty years later.471

4.Politics above everything

Just when the economy was beginning to recover from the losses caused by the Great Leap Forward, the Chairman applied another shock to it.

The purpose of the Cultural Revolution, which lasted (with interruptions and crises) nearly ten years (1966–1976), was much broader than that of the Great Leap Forward. Economic matters were only one part of it, one element in a great project to rebuild society.

It is not known how many people died during this last experiment of Mao’s. Official figures remain secret (and are not necessarily complete), and estimates by specialists vary widely, with numbers ranging from 750,000 to nearly 8 million.472 Some of these people were shot to death in battles, as the process ←165 | 166→culminated in outright combat between various parties within the Hong Weibing (Red Guard), as well as between the Red Guard and the army, but most were murdered: starved to death, buried alive, beaten to death or forced to commit suicide. A wave of killings of “class enemies” also swept across the country; for example, in just five days, from 27 August to 1 September 1966, in Daxing – a suburb of Beijing – 325 people were killed in such actions. In other mass killings, the death toll reached the thousands.473

There are also major divergencies in estimates of the number of people repressed – beaten, imprisoned, starved, publically humiliated and exiled from cities to work camps and manufacturing cooperatives, where they would undergo “re-education” – with numbers ranging from 35 to 125 million. The revolution rolled across China in stages: it first encompassed the country’s main academic centres, where it reached its height in 1967–1968; around 1968, it began to spread to industry and transport; in the years 1969–1971 it moved to the countryside (which was also impacted by the cultural revolution, despite the fact that until very recently it was generally believed to have been mainly an urban movement).

Historians often look for the driving force behind the Cultural Revolution in the struggle for power at the top levels of the Party leadership. In the mid-1960s, after the failure of the Great Leap Forward, the Chairman is thought to have lost de facto influence in favour of a group of fellow Politburo members, among whom the most important figure was Liu Shaoqi. Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution and stood at its forefront in order to regain power; just as Stalin’s power was consolidated by purges among the Party apparatus, the mainstay of Mao’s rule was the Red Guard, comprised of students and young workers. This comparison overlooks one important difference, however: where Stalin’s purges were carried out from above by the specialized machinery of Party-state violence, the massacres of the Cultural Revolution were carried out by a social movement that, although inspired by Mao, came “from below.” Thus, visible in the background is a rebellion against Party elites, the “new class”, who had obtained privileges at the expense of “the people.”

Mao still regretted the failure of the Utopian and egalitarian ideals of the revolution. After the failure of the Great Leap Forward, he handed over management of most state matters to his comrades in the Politburo; there remains some ←166 | 167→disagreement as to what extent he did so voluntarily. In the autumn of 1962, when the country was slowly getting back on its feet, he announced the slogan “Never forget the class struggle!” and began to prepare the ground for continuing the revolution.474 The idea that the revolution is a never-ending process can already be found in texts Mao wrote as a student, but its full expression appeared in his works written on the eve of the Great Leap Forward, in early 1958:

Our revolution is like fighting a war. After winning one battle, we must immediately put forward new tasks. In this way, we can maintain the revolutionary enthusiasm of the cadres and the masses, and diminish their self-satisfaction, since they have no time to be satisfied with themselves even if they wanted to; new tasks keep pressing in, and everyone devotes his mind to the question of how to fulfil the new tasks.475

Aside from the struggle for dominance and the ideological conviction of the need for permanent revolution, conflict among the party elite was also fuelled by fundamental disagreements concerning economic policy. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao had criticized Liu, accusing him of attempting to “rebuild capitalism.” His words should not be taken literally – at the time, Mao was accusing the Brezhnev regime of doing the same thing in the USSR. Liu was also a proponent of forced socialist industrialization, to be conducted along the lines of the Soviet model, based on central planning combined with price and wage controls in order to maximize workers’ productivity.476 He believed in the power of material motivation. In many ways, he was like those reformers in the socialist bloc who wanted to increase the role of “incentives” at different levels of the production process – from the enterprise level down to the worker.477 Behind this lay the belief – expressed around the same time in a more elegant form in Western theory – that lowering wages to the level of biological subsistence was harmful to the pace of growth because it reduced workers’ motivation; the planner should therefore establish wages not at the lowest possible level, but at the optimal level for growth (which does not preclude being economical or a high rate of investment).478

←167 | 168→

Mao took a completely different view: he thought that material motivation to work should be replaced by political control and revolutionary fervour – which not only would bring obvious political benefits, but also make it possible to reach a considerably higher rate of investment and capital accumulation. This difference of opinion translated into Liu and his circle’s preference for industry that produced consumer goods. Mao, who himself led a lifestyle that was far from ascetic, saw sacrifice as necessary, as well as being useful to the revolution. He must at the same time have known that, for example, in 1956, workers’ bonuses alone amounted to 10 percent of the country’s entire wage-fund. By bringing everyone, beginning with the peasants, to the brink of starvation, Mao was able to extract more resources from the economy for what he saw as the accelerated investment in heavy industry (and such costly endeavours as, to name one, China’s atomic program).479 The asceticism imposed by the Chairman on 600 million Chinese was, in effect, a confiscatory tax designated for investment.

In economic terms, the Cultural Revolution was thus a reprise of the Great Leap Forward, except on a smaller scale and carried out in a more anarchic fashion. Beginning in the spring of 1968, the press continued to report successive magical over-fulfilments of production plans (the original plans were never revealed). Only the fact that the revolution was late in reaching the countryside and not as far-reaching there explains why the catastrophic famine caused by the earlier campaign did not repeat itself.

The Cultural Revolution began in schools and universities, and shortly thereafter, moved to factories. During many months of confusion– at least up to autumn 1967 – official articles in the press urged people to “remain at their production posts, and not leave their factories to engage in exchange of revolutionary experiences.”480

However, the wave could not be held back. In early November 1967, workers at 17 factories in Shanghai– influenced by news delivered from the capital by Red Guards – organized the Workers’ Revolutionary General Headquarters in Shanghai and sent 2,500 of their members, led by 32 year-old “commandant” Wang Hongwen, who had earlier worked as a factory security guard, to Beijing. Premier Zhou Enlai ordered the train stopped, in order to deal with the problem on the spot. In protest, the workers sat on the tracks and for 31 hours blocked an important railway connection to Nanjing, paralyzing the transportation system. ←168 | 169→The high official sent from Beijing to negotiate with the workers agreed to all of their demands and blamed the earlier standstill on the local Party organization.

At a conference of economics ministers not long afterward, a quarrel broke out: if workers “are permitted to set up all kinds of organizations, there will be even more problems […] Either they will begin fighting, or they will stop production,” complained one of the participants.481 He was right.

The centre nonetheless decided that the revolution should continue. A decree issued by Mao on 9 December 1966 entitled “Ten Points On Industry” permitted workers to form “revolutionary organizations,” though it also placed upon them the duty to maintain production. At the turn of 1966–67, armed workers’ militias had gained de facto control over the city of Shanghai. In the summer of 1967, regular battles broke out, including in some factories, among various factions of the revolutionary Red Guard: these battles centred on the question of who better represented Mao’s thought – and in the course of them, all manner of local conflicts were brought out into the open.

The scale of these clashes resembled a creeping civil war. In one such battle, at Chongqing in August 1967, over 10,000 heavy artillery shells were fired, and a 1000 people were killed. In another place in the province of Hunan, the work of a giant steelworks was held up for six weeks due to fighting in which six workers were killed. In Shanghai, Wang Hongwen ordered his fighters to attack a diesel motor factory; in the fighting that ensued, 18 people lost their lives, and another 983 were wounded. Production was halted for two months. Throughout China, in the third quarter of 1967 only half of planned production was achieved.482 To this day it is difficult to estimate the losses caused by the removal of qualified engineers and supervisors from factories and other plants, after they fell victim to the “class struggle” conducted in Mao’s name and directed against what had hitherto been the nation’s elite. On 18 August 1967, dressed in military fatigues for the first time in years, Mao greeted a procession of several hundred thousand Red Guards on Tiananmen Square: he was once again back in his element.483

Factory life had been turned upside down. For most revolutionaries bookkeeping, profitability, and earnings were bourgeois ideas, while control and oversight limited the free expression of workers’ creative power (hence the slogan “Better Red than Expert”). Planning was also rejected because it merely stood in the way of unlimited growth in production. The entire previously existing system ←169 | 170→of management was discarded as being worthless and hindering the initiative of the working class. Workers were discovering that they were better educated and prepared than the engineers and supervisors who were “contaminated with bourgeois habits,” and who often not only had university degrees, but had obtained them abroad.484

Likewise, in keeping with the postulate that all creative work is class-oriented and the source of creativity is the working class, innovation was to be generated by the workers themselves. (In accordance with Mao’s thought in the Little Red Book: “The masses have boundless creative power. They can organize themselves and concentrate on places and branches of work where they can give full play to their energy; they can concentrate on production in breadth and depth and create more and more undertakings for their own well-being.”485) This fit perfectly with the spirit, dominant in Maoism, but with deeper, older roots stretching back to imperial times, of autarchy. In the 1970s, a Western Maoist described it thus:

The notion of “relying on one’s own strength” has a profound effect on the attitude toward the requirements of accumulation. “In keeping with Chairman Mao’s teachings,” a member of the revolutionary committee explained, “a three-in-one team has been organized in our factory for the purpose of achieving a technical revolution. This is a specialized team, but a campaign is under way to enlist mass participation in this effort. We must not rely exclusively on this specialized team which, at any rate, consists of few people.

Innovation in the economy was an element of the revolution, and an ongoing process, not simply a series of steps. The Western sympathizer was shown a machine that had been improved by the workers:

The experts and specialists had always claimed that this type of machine could not possibly dye and print jersey in two colors. The workers said: “Why can’t it be done? Let’s try it!” After the Cultural Revolution, they proposed the attempt be made, and after a few trials it turned out to be quite practical to print in two colors. Nevertheless, we still have problems.486

Propaganda again became deafening and offered clear, unambiguous models. For example, on 15 March 1969, Beijing Radio transmitted a broadcast about the ←170 | 171→discovery of a new insecticide, the text of which illustrates both revolutionary management methods and the thriving cult of Chairman Mao:

Trial manufacture began in the factory in October 1966. Harbouring inveterate hatred for this new born thing, the handful of capitalist roaders in the Party and the class enemies in the factory did everything they could to obstruct and sabotage the undertaking. They slandered the revolutionary workers, saying, “scientific experiments are the affair of technicians and university graduates. How can you workers expect to produce any bacteria? You don’t know how high the sky is and how big the earth is!”

The revolutionary workers replied firmly in words like these: “Chairman Mao says: ‘The humble are the most intelligent; the lofty are the most ignorant’. Armed with Mao Tsetung’s thought, the working class is capable of performing wonders which you cannot even imagine!” They chose four comrades with only primary school education to study for one month at a unit which was then carrying out experiments in making the new insecticide. After the four comrades, returned the workers borrowed a microscope, bought several flasks, made some wooden cases and immediately started their experiments […] Devoted to serving the people “wholly” and “entirely”, they went to the villages to make investigations and canvass the poor and lower-middle peasants for their views. In doing this, they made more and more progress in their experiments. Over 900 experiments in all were conducted and they finally succeeded in trial producing the new type of insecticide.487

In this atmosphere, decisions concerning production were to be made collectively by workers, though it is hard to say from a distance how much say they actually had. The result, beyond any doubt, was total chaos in production.488 Additional losses to the economy caused by repressions against educated people and the closing of universities (some for several years) are difficult even to estimate.489 Many schools never opened again. The number of institutions of higher education in China fell during the Cultural Revolution by more than half – from 1300 to slightly more than 400 – and began to rise again only after the Chairman’s death.490

Although the army’s intervention in the second half of 1968 put an end to the worst excesses of the Cultural Revolution, fighting in the provinces continued as late as 1976, a year before Mao’s death.

←171 | 172→

5.Society is certainly a bit coarse

It is easy nowadays to look at the Maoist experiments as aberrations and condemn the regime’s crimes. For contemporaries, and not only Chairman Mao’s admirers, this was not so obvious. In 1975, in one of the most prestigious economic development journals, it was possible to read the following assessment:

Standards for evaluating China’s performance are open to dispute, but certain features of the economy are generally ranked among the regime’s outstanding accomplishments. These features include, above all, the near equality of income (at least compared to most developing countries) and the fact that in areas visited by foreign travelers, everyone seems to enjoy a standard of living above bare subsistence, despite the pressure of people against scarce resources.491

The author praises the contrast between clean and tidy Chinese cities and the dirty and chaotic metropolitan areas of Asia’s capitalist countries – at that time full of unemployed and hungry people, which China did not have. The same author cited several foreign observers, including Joan Robinson, an economist fascinated by Mao at the time:

[T]he flood of observers’ reports concerning everyday life in China are almost uniformly positive. They describe Chinese citizens under communist rule as disciplined, wellfed and clothed, forward looking and proudly nationalistic, healthy […]. The society is, to be sure, somewhat drab […] rather dull at times, and lacking in many of the amenities and freedoms of Western life. But observers are impressed with the contrast they perceive with other developing societies.492

Numerous Western observers were inclined to make light of the nearly total elimination of private property and personal autonomy in Maoist China. In practical terms, for example, Chinese people had no free time. In Mao’s time this was not in fact studied because the very idea smacked of a bourgeois lifestyle. In 1980, when reforms were just beginning, collectives allowed the average citizen barely 2 hours and 21 minutes a day for rest and recreation (in 1991, the figure was already more than twice that).493

The average rate of growth for the Chinese economy from 1952 up until the 1970s was estimated after Mao’s death at 4–6 percent annually, which indicates that it considerably outstripped the pace of population growth (2 percent ←172 | 173→annually). China also unquestionably outpaced the other Asian giant, India, leaving it far behind. According to estimates made in 1980, China’s GDP rose seven-fold in the period 1950–1980; India’s grew by less than three-fold. Taking population growth into account, the average Chinese person was almost four times richer in 1980 than in 1950. In presenting this comparison, Economist Wilfred Malenbaum pronounced the Chinese achievement to be “spectacular”, attributing it to, among other things, centralized investment on a grand scale.494 He also observed that even if other Asian countries achieved an even higher rate of growth due to exports, such a strategy would not have been possible for China, as it was too big, in his view, for such a solution to be effective there.495

By today’s estimates, as well, Mao’s China comes out looking good compared to the rest of what we used to call the “Third World”, and now call the developing countries – with assessments of China’s average rate of growth in GDP ranging as high as 6.7 percent annually, though it was subject to extreme oscillations during Chairman Mao’s periods of experimentation.496 China’s profile looks even better if we take into account not only the pace of the rise in GDP, but other development indicators, such as average life expectancy, which was unmistakably higher than in other countries with a comparative level of income.497 The Chinese were also relatively better-educated than the country’s level of wealth would indicate.498 Another achievement of modernization consisted of far-reaching gains in gender equality, an effort consistently imposed by the regime from the beginning of its rule. It has also been observed that if one overlooks subtle questions of “superstructure” – the omnipresence of ideology, the level of the regime’s control over society and the number of victims – the economic policy of the final period of Mao’s rule was in fact quite similar to what was being attempted at the time in other poor countries, i.e., raising the level of investment, particularly in industry.

←173 | 174→

In the final years of Mao’s life, the socialist engine of growth was already showing signs of fading. Toward the end of the 1970s, the GDP growth rate fell to 1.5 percent annually, lower than the rate of population growth. The economy was also becoming increasingly capital intensive, like the USSR and communist Eastern Europe at that time. Whereas in the 1950s it was necessary to invest 2.51 yuan in industry to achieve a rise in growth of 1 yuan, in the first half of the 1970s it required 5.49 yuan (in 1993 in post-reform China, a mere 1.35 yuan was sufficient). Furthermore, private consumption grew at a rate three times slower than GDP, a problem typical of socialist countries.

As Mao was dying, a number of problems that were endemic to planned economies were reaching a critical stage: production was weighed down by logistical problems and underinvestment in transport, obsolete light industry, bottlenecks in the supply of raw materials and energy. At the same time, the Politburo continued to insist on setting daily production targets for most sectors of the economy.499

For a short period after Mao’s death, the Politburo was engulfed in a power struggle. By the end of the 1970s, however, it was clear to the new team in power that the time had come to find a different path forward. The party leadership, now comprised of new faces, quickly moved onto the path Mao had feared most: a road one of his Western admirers called “the Great Leap Backward”.500

424 Mao Tse-Tung, Reply to Comrade Kuo Mo-Jo, in Poems, Open Source Socialist Publishing 2008, p. 41

425 Quoted in J. Shapiro, Mao’s War Against Nature. Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China, Cambridge-New York 2001, p. 66.

426 C. Clark, “Development Economics. The Early Years”, [in:] The Pioneers of Development, op. cit., pp. 64–65.

427 Ibid., p. 65.

428 Mao Tse-Tung, Wojna Chin przeciwko Japonii, Warszawa 1949, p. 105.

429 C. Bramall, Chinese Economic Development, London 2008, p. 55.

430 This chapter was informed by a number of biographies on Chairman Mao, in particular P. Short, Mao: A Life, New York 2000; M. Meisner, Mao Zedong. A Political and Intellectual Portrait, London 2007.

431 F. Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958–62, London 2010, p. 41.

432 C. Bramall, op. cit., p. 68.

433 L. Feigon, Mao: A Reinterpretation, Chicago 2002, p. 96.

434 Mao, “Comment on Suppressing and Liquidating Contrrevolutionaries, 8 May 1951”, [in:] The Writings of Mao Zedong 1949–1976, eds. M. Kau, J. Leung, M. Sharpe, Armonk-London 1986, p. 190.

435 Z. Yongming, “Nationalism, Identity and State-Building. The Antidrug Crusade in the People’s Republic, 1949–1952”, [in:] Opium Regimes. China, Britain and Japan 1839–1952, eds. T. Brook and B. Tadashi Wakabayashi, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London 2000, p. 392.

436 J. Gittings, The Changing Face of China. From Mao to Market, Oxford 2006, p. 23.

437 D. A. Kaple, Dream of a Red Factory. Legacy of High Stalinism in China, New York-Oxford 1994, p. 12.

438 GDP rose 8.9 percent annually, industrial production - 18 percent. R. Guo, How the Chinese Economy Works, Houndmills-London 2009, p. 213.

439 L. Feigon, I. R. Dee, op. cit., p. 100.

440 Mao Tse-Tung, Selected Works, vol. 5, Beijing 1977, p. 155.

441 S. Schram, The Thought of Mao Tse-Tung, London 1989, p. 113.

442 Ibid., pp. 112–113.

443 F. C. Teiwes, “The Estabilishment and Consolidation of the New Regime: 1949–1957”, [in:] The Politics of China. The Eras of Mao and Deng, ed. R. MacFarquhar, Cambridge 1997, p. 59.

444 Quoted in S. Schram, The Thought…, op. cit., pp. 149–150.

445 C. Bramall, op. cit., p. 125.

446 Quoted in J. Gittings, The Changing Face of China. From Mao to Market, Oxford 2006, p. 31.

447 J. Gittings, The Changing Face…, op. cit., p. 32.

448 Y. Chen, Transition and Development in China. Towards Shared Growth, Farnham-Burlington 2009, p. 15.

449 J. Fenby, Modern China…, op. cit., p. 403.

450 C. Chichren Lin, “The Reinstatement of Economics in China Today”, The China Quarterly, 1981, no. 85.

451 L. Feigon, Mao. A Reinterpretation, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago 2002, p. 121.

452 C. Bramall, Chinese Economic Development…, op. cit., p. 125.

453 L. Feigon, Mao…, op. cit., p. 132.

454 D. Goodman, Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese Revolution. A Political Bbiography, London-New York 1994, p. 60.

455 F. Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine…, op. cit., p. 89.

456 Quoted in F. Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine…, op. cit., p. 93.

457 D. Goodman, Deng Xiaoping…, op. cit., p. 62.

458 This is the view of D. Goodman, the author of the previously cited political biography of Deng Xiaoping.

459 L. Feigon, Mao…, op. cit., p. 134.

460 J. Shapiro, Mao’s War…, op. cit., p. 75.

461 Quoted in J. Shapiro, Mao’s War…, op. cit., p. 77. A jin is equal to approx. 0.6 kg; one mu is approx. 0.66 hectare.

462 L. Feigon, Mao…, op. cit., p. 123.

463 J. Fenby, Modern China…, op. cit., p. 416.

464 C. J. Mitcham, China’s Economic Relations with the West and Japan, 1949–79. Grain, Tade and Dplomacy, London-New York 2005, p. 40.

465 D. Brautigam, The Dragon’s Gift. The Real Story of China in Africa, Oxford-New York 2009, p. 32.

466 D. Goodman, Deng Xiaoping…, op. cit., p. 65.

467 J. Fenby, Modern China… op.cit., p. 416.

468 C. Yik-yi Chu, Chinese Communists and Hong Kong Capitalists: 1937–1997, New York 2010, p. 46.

469 F. Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine…, op. cit., p. 117.

470 E. Goh, Constructing the U.S. Rapprochement with China, 1961–1974. From “Red Menace” to “Tacit Ally”, Cambridge 2005, pp. 50–51.

471 C. Riskin, “Feeding China: The Experience since 1949”, [in:] The Political Economy of Hunger, vol. 3, eds. J. Drèze and A. Sen, Oxford-New York 2007, p. 33.

472 On the basis of analysis of available data from 1520 county-level rural districts, A. G. Walder and Y. Su estimate the number of victims at between 750,000 and 1.5 million (“The Cultural Revolution in the Countryside: Scope, Timing and Human Impact”, The China Quarterly, 2003, no. 173). In contrast, R. J. Rummel puts the number at 7,731,000 victims (China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder since 1900, New Brunswick 1991). Other estimates tend to put the number in the range of 1.5–2.5 million victims.

473 Y. Su, “Mass Killings in the Cultural Revolution: A Study of Three Provinces”, [in:] The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History, eds. J. Esherick, P. Pickowicz, A. Walter, Stanford 2006, p. 96.

474 S. Schram, The Thought of Mao, op. cit., p. 164.

475 S. Schram, “Mao Tse-tung and the Theory of Permanent Revolution 1958–69”, China Quarterly, 1971, no. 46, p. 227.

476 Y. L. Wu, “Economics, Ideology and the Cultural Revolution”, Asian Survey, 1968, vol. 8, no. 3.

477 Y. Y. Kueh, China’s New Industrialization Strategy. Was Chairman Mao Really Necessary?, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham-Northampton 2008, p. 3 ff.

478 J. C. H. Fei, A. C. Chiang, “Maximum-speed Development Through Austerity” [in:] The Theory and Design of Economic Development, eds. I. Adelman and E. Thorbecke, Baltimore 1969, p. 67 ff.

479 Y. Y. Kueh, China’s New Industrialization…, op. cit., p. 4.

480 R. MacFarquhar, M. Schoenhals, Mao’s Last Revolution, Cambridge–London 2006, p. 141.

481 Ibid., p. 142.

482 Ibid., pp. 217–220.

483 J. Chang, J. Halliday, Mao. The Unknown Story, New York 2005, p. 517.

484 S. Andors, China’s Industrial Revolution. Politics, Planning and Management 1949 to the Present, New York 1977, p. 200.

485 Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung. Marxists Internet Archive,

486 C. Bettelheim, Cultural Revolution and Industrial Organization in China. Changes in Management and the Division of Labor, New York-London 1974, pp. 27–28.

487 Quoted in The Miracles of Chairman Mao. A Compendium of Devotional Literature: 1966–1970, ed. G. Urban, London 1971, p. 122.

488 A. Eckstein, China’s Economic Revolution, London-New York 1978, p. 91.

489 R. Dernberger, “Radical Ideology and Economic Development in China: The Cultural Revolution and Its Impact on the Economy”, Asian Survey, 1972, vol. 12, no. 12, p. 1062.

490 D. Guthrie, China and Globalization. The Social, Economic and Political Transformation of Chinese Society, New York-London 2009, p. 177.

491 D. B. Keesing, “Economic Lessons from China”, Journal of Development Economics, 1975, no. 2.

492 J. Robinson, Economic Management – China 1972, London 1973, quoted in D. B. Keesing, “Economic lessons…” op. cit.

493 J. Friedmann, China’s Urban Transition, Minneapolis-London 2005, p. 79.

494 W. Malenbaum, “Modern Economic Growth in India and China. The Comparison Revisited, 1950–1980”, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 1982, vol. 31, no. 1.

495 C. Bramall, Chinese Economic…, op. cit., p. 155.

496 R. F. Dernberger, “The People’s Republic of China at 50: The Economy” [in:] The People’s Republic of China After 50 Years, ed. R. L. Edmonds, Oxford-New York 2000, p. 45. A. Maddison estimates economic growth in China in the years 19521978 to have been 4.4 percent annually (A. Maddison, Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run, 960–2030 AD, OECD, Paris 2007, p. 60).

497 C. Bramall, Chinese Economic…, op. cit., p. 3.

498 K.-Y. Tsui, “Forces Shaping China’s Interprovincial Inequality” [in:] Inequality and Growth in Modern China, ed. G. Wan, Oxford-New York 2008, p. 81.

499 F. C. Teiwes, W. Sun, The End of the Maoist Era. Chinese Politics During the Twilight of the Cultural Revolution: 1972–1976, Armonk-London 2007, p. 199.

500 C. Bettelheim, “Great Leap Backward” [in:] China since Mao, eds. N. Burton, C. Bettelheim, New York-London 1978, p. 37.