The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999

By Weixing Chen | Go to book overview

3
The Dengist Reform in Historical Perspective

The 1960s and the 1980s were two important periods of development in the history of the PRC. Preceded each by a disaster, both periods saw major policy changes in response to prior commitments to leftist ideology. The successes of the first period, however, did not prevent a return to leftist extremism in the Cultural Revolution, while the successes of the second period lasted much longer and paved the way for a nationwide reform. The CCP's responses to the two disasters in the early 1960s and late 1970s were very similar in policy terms but very different ideologically. In contrast to the early 1960s, the implementation of the household responsibility system (HRS) in China's rural areas in the late 1970s, which declared the end of the Maoist model of rural development, made a decisive break with the ideological and political lines of Mao and led to broader reforms in all fields of Chinese society. This chapter discusses the initial Dengist reform and compares it with the liberal economic policy in the early 1960s. Such comparative study is important, because "Chinese politics often has been defined more by its historical dynamics than by static structures and the relationship of each phase of Chinese politics to preceding phases has been at least as important to the politics of that phase as have its own institutions and policies." 1

In the first section of this chapter, I discuss the evolution of the HRS in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Next, I discuss the liberal economic policies of the early 1960s and their political consequences. Finally, I

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The Political Economy of Rural Development in China, 1978-1999
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • 1 - Ideology and Economic Development 1
  • Notes 26
  • 2 - A Party of Economics and Market-Oriented Communal Socialism 29
  • Notes 45
  • 3 - The Dengist Reform in Historical Perspective 47
  • Notes 68
  • 4 - The Village Conglomerate: A New Form of Political Economy 71
  • Notes 98
  • 5 - The Peasant Challenge at the Turn of the Century 101
  • Notes 117
  • 6 - Village Elections for Self-Government 119
  • Notes 134
  • 7 - A New Ideological Discourse: Deng Xiaoping Theory 137
  • Notes 153
  • 8 - Understanding the Political Economy of Development 155
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author *
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