Communist China's Economy, 1949-1962: Structural Changes and Crisis

By Cheng Chu-Yuan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
MAJOR FEATURES OF CHINA'S PRE-COMMUNIST
ECONOMIC STRUCTURE

Prior to the 1937 Sino-Japanese war, China's economic structure was characterized by three peculiarities. Institutionally, it was a free economy providing open markets for both domestic and foreign traders. Socially, the petty-bourgeoisie dominated the economic society. Of the various components of the national income, agriculture led overwhelmingly. Thus, pre-war China had a free, backward overwhelmingly agrarian economy.

Modern industry in China began only after the mid-nineteenth century. In the first stage, the state played an important role in the construction of modern factories and the development of modern transportation. Private modern industry began with the birth of the Republic in 1911. In the period from 1910 to 1937, under the pressures of foreign powers, China had an open market which lacked any protection for native industry. Consequently, foreign capital long occupied the predominant place. Professor C. F. Remer estimated that foreign investment in China rose from 787.9 million U. S. dollars in 1902, to 1,610.3 million in 1914, and 3,242.5 million in 19311. In 1936, this increased to 3,671.4 million 2. By 1933, foreign capital controlled shares of major Chinese industries as follows:

Coal -- 39 per cent
Pig iron -- 82.5 per cent
Ship-building -- 48.2 per cent
Cotton yarn -- 29.1 per cent
Cotton cloth -- 61.5 per cent 3

By 1936, foreign capital was estimated to constitute 73.8 per cent of China's total industrial capital 4. Because of this peculiar situation, the great majority of enterprises owned by Chinese capitalists remained small-scale. A survey conducted by the Nationalist Government's Ministry of Industry indicated that, between 1928 and 1933, only 250 units could be registered as modern factories; their total capital in terms of silver yuan was approximately equivalent to $117,843,000, or an average of only 471,000 silver yuan each 5. According to another survey, in 1933, of the 18,708 private-owned factories, only 86 were enterprises of more than a thousand workers;

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Communist China's Economy, 1949-1962: Structural Changes and Crisis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Tables ix
  • Other Books by the Same Author xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • References 3
  • Chapter 2 Major Features of China's Pre-Communist Economic Structure 4
  • References 9
  • Chapter 3 Chinese Communist Theories and Policies for Economic Structural Transformation 11
  • References 19
  • Chapter 4 Agricultural Collectivizsation 22
  • References 56
  • Chapter 5 Transformation of the Private Sector into the State-Operated Sector 60
  • References 82
  • Chapter 6 Establishment of the Central Planning Machinery and State Monopoly 84
  • References 104
  • Chapter 7 Basic Changes in the Component of the National Product 106
  • Chapter 8 Famine and Crisis 128
  • References 153
  • Chapter 9 Significance and Prospects 157
  • References 172
  • Chapter 10 Conclusion 175
  • Appendix a Note on Communist China's Statistical Data 181
  • References 189
  • Appendix II Conversion Tables 191
  • Selected Bibliography 194
  • Index 208
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