China’s agricultural reforms
When China freed up agriculture in the late 1970s, it was one of the most significant blows for human freedom ever recorded. Here is the story of the farmers, and then the political leaders, who got the ball rolling.
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Something brought up in the practice question, which wasn't well covered in the video:
How could China have greater agricultural output and more malnutrition at the same time under collectivization? Was there a lot of waste, and did the reduction of waste post-reform make up for the loss of agricultural production?
There is a problem with the logic of the study question options: the correct answer is "lower output and more cases of malnutrition than in post reform period"
I once went to a political event in nyc in which the goal was to introduce very different ways of thinking relative to the average nyc audience. And so, a communist and a republican were invited to speak. I asked the Communist what he thought about China, and how introducing market based reforms led a collectivist/socialist country to alleviate poverty for 2 hundred million people. He said "we're studying that." What would be an intelligent communist response to what happened in China?
Try Terry Eagleton: "But the so-called socialist system had its achievements, too. China and the Soviet Union dragged their citizens out of economic backwardness into the modern industrial world, at however horrific a human cost; and the cost was so steep partly because of the hostility of the capitalist West." He goes on to call the the regimes of Mao and Stalin as "botched experiments". Some Marxists regularly point out that Marx foresaw the transfer to socialism occurring in advanced industrial economies not in say, backward, feudal Russia-a variation of the "botched experiment" argument. Then there's Trotsky's "degenerated workers state"...but I must urgently stop typing now.