In a recent contribution to the literature on collective farming, Liu ( 1994a) argues that, under the classical collective farm system of the Chinese commune type, collective members actively participated in collective production even more than a self-cultivating private farmer would spend time working, but while engaged in this collective work they shirked. In this paper I extend that analysis and show that a reformed collective farm system (RS) could overcome the shirking problem. Liu ( 1994a) also stresses that the Chinese commune system was able to mobilize vast amounts of additional labour from members for various kinds of agricultural infrastructural investment, and discusses the reasons.1 I show that under RS this potential could be maintained. Against the widely reported deterioration of agricultural infrastructure in China since the end of the commune system (and the equally widely recognized need for agricultural infrastructural investment in other developing nations), the policy implications of my analysis are strong. However, the aim of this paper is to provide a theoretical investigation only. In future work, the policy implications and ways of implementing a RS, and the problems thereof, may be addressed.
It should be pointed out that the reformed system I examine is by no means hypothetical. In the history of collective farming in China, a system called 'Baochan' was twice practised in parts of China. Since I closely model my new system after it, I call it Baochan.2____________________