I have discussed in Chapter 2 how the socialist transformation campaign of 1949-1957 eliminated private ownership of the means of production. A family political status system was set up and came to be an important dimension of stratification in Mao's China. However, stratification by family political status was unable to fully reflect the rich complexity of inequalities in the Mao era. Since 1956, the state sector dominated the Chinese economy. The government established a job ranking system to remunerate state employees. Occupational ranking, as Richard Kraus points out, became a better index to economic position than the pre-1949 class status. 1 I show in this chapter that occupational ranking also determined the distribution of status and prestige among state employees. The job ranking system became the basis of class formation in the Mao era.
The 1949 Communist Takeover marked the beginning of a government sponsored industrialization program and a concomitant rapid expansion of the urban work force during the 1950s and the 1960s. In 1952 there were only 17.3 million laborers in the primary sector, 1.5 million in the secondary sector and 1.9 million in the tertiary sector. By 1965 the corresponding figures were 24 million, 2.6 million, and 2.9 million respectively. 2 In 1952, the state sector employed 15.8 million workers only. By 1965, they commanded a 37.38 million strong labor force (Table 3. 1). The total number of technicians, engineers and managers in the state sector was nearly doubled from 893,600 in 1952 to 1.6 million in 1965. 3
Concurrently, China's urban population grew from less than 58 million in 1949 to more than 133 million in 1965. In other words, the proportion represented by urban residents increased from 10.6 percent in 1949 to 17.9 percent of the total population in 1966 (Table 3.2).