The Prospects for Communist China

By W. W. Rostow. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
COMMUNIST POWER AND THE CHINESE ECONOMY: CONCLUSIONS
Although the decision goes deep in basic Communist ideology, and was explicitly foreshadowed in 1952 if not earlier, it was toward the end of 1953 that the Communist regime firmly decided forthwith to press on with the building of a heavy industry base as a matter of overriding priority. This decision has had a number of ancillary consequences. It has meant that:
1. An increase in standards of welfare must, in general, be postponed; and the proportion of the budget to national income must be maintained (say, 30 per cent).
2. Given the complex nature of the industrial equipment required, a high and rising level of international trade must be sustained, and imports other than industrial raw materials, machinery, and military equipment must be minimized.
3. An increased volume of total agricultural output must be allocated to exports.
4. An increased volume of total agricultural output must be allocated to feeding expanding urban areas.
5. A very high proportion of industrial output must be reinvested in industry.

The decision on the priority of heavy industry has been taken in conjunction with a second decision: namely, that the size of the regime's armed forces be maintained and that its complement of modern equipment be steadily expanded. This latter decision is reflected in the official (and probably understated) scale of allocations to the Second Ministry of Machine Building (military production). It is altogether likely, although no evidence is available, that a high level of military equipment imports is maintained from the Soviet Union -- financed by current Chinese exports.

-289-

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