An Economic Survey of Communist China

By Yuan-Li Wu | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE
Forced Labor and Mass Labor Projects

I
THE ECONOMIC BASIS OF MASS LABOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Notwithstanding the considerable strides made by Communist China in industrial and agricultural recovery, the shortage of both capital and cultivated land remains acute. The only productive factor that exists in super-abundance is unskilled labor. This, of course, is not a new phenomenon as labor has always been used very intensively in all phases of production in China. However, the matter assumes a fresh twist when, in view of the policy of forced industrialization and the desire to expand both agricultural and industrial output, methods have to be devised so that the surplus labor can be used directly in creating new investments.

We speak of surplus labor. What is meant is that, given the productive techniques in use in China, in the absence of active government intervention, it is possible to produce the same output without having as many men ostensibly engaged in the production processes as is normally the case. In other words, there has always been a substantial amount of chronic, disguised, and partial unemployment or under-employment in China. This is true especially, but not exclusively, in the agricultural sector. Peasants and urban workers in small family workshops are not fully employed for want of other necessary productive factors, such as capital and land. As long as small individual farms exist, the personal holdings serve to tie down many of these semi-employed peasants, but, as the farms are consolidated through "cooperativization," the semi-employed become available for other work. The amalgamation movement engendered under the industrial and commercial adjustment programs has brought about the same development in the towns. Occasional reports on the emergence of urban unemployment and the drift of

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An Economic Survey of Communist China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Notes 10
  • Chapter Two - Background and Heritage 12
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter Three - Economic Stabilization and Fiscal Policy 64
  • Notes 108
  • Chapter Four - Land Redistribution and Its Implications 113
  • Notes 151
  • Chapter Five - Agricultural Production and Self-Sufficiency 154
  • Notes 189
  • Chapter Six - Industrialization, Planning and Socialization 192
  • Notes 232
  • Chapter Seven - An Appraisal of General Industrial Recovery and Development 238
  • Notes 275
  • Chapter Eight - Survey of Selected Industries 280
  • Notes 310
  • Chapter Nine - Forced Labor and Mass Labor Projects 316
  • Notes 338
  • Chapter Ten - Transportation and Domestic Trade 341
  • Notes 390
  • Chapter Eleven - Monetary and Banking Control 395
  • Notes 421
  • Chapter Twelve - Labor Organization and Wages 424
  • Notes 453
  • Chapter Thirteen - Foreign Economic Relations 456
  • Notes 496
  • Chapter Fourteen - Conclusion 501
  • Notes 507
  • Appendix 509
  • Index 552
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