Q1. The Great Leap Forward a failure of central planning according to Li and Yang
The Great Leap Forward Movement was an economic and social program adopted by the People's Republic of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong. The movement aimed at rapidly transforming China from an agricultural-based economy into a fast and rapidly growing society through accelerated industrialization and collectivism. Prior to the adoption of the Great Leap Forward movement, China witnessed several socio-economic and political challenges which undermined its growth and put the citizens at a crossroad with the ruling class. Some of these challenges include; foreign invasions, civil wars, rising income inequality, and political disorder which nurtured corruption and economic crimes in the country. To address and overcome these challenges, Mao Zedong introduced new policies which he believed were essential in enhancing economic growth and development in the country.
Chief changes associated with the Great Leap forward included the introduction of mandatory agricultural collectivization, prohibition of private farming, implementation of a restriction on rural people through political struggle sessions and social pressure, and encouraging industrialization as opposed to agrarianism ideology. Contrary to the positive expected results, the Great Leap Forward movement resulted in numerous challenges, thus worsening Chinese ailing economic situation. The movement resulted in tens of millions of deaths, increased income inequality, and low private investment. According to Li and Yang, these challenges of the Great Leap Forward were as a result of the failure of central planning by the Mao Zedong.
Mao Zedong adopted the communist economic system as opposed to the much effective capitalistic system, a critical factor that contributed to the failure of the Great Leap Forward Movement. The primary goal of the Great Leap Forward movement was to see China overtake other already developed countries such as the US and the UK. In order to achieve this, Mao Zedong reformed China into communes with each of these communes containing at least 5000 families. Under these communes, families were forced to surrender their farming tools and animals and joined work brigades to help in irrigation and water conservation. The mandatory involvement of the locals resulted in the expansion of projects initiated by the government, and also the dominance and authority of the ruling class on national issues. While working in the communes, people were required to meet not only the set social and economic goals by the government but also beat them.
In order to foster rapid economic growth and development in a country, the government is always required to adopt an effective central plan which provides a conducive environment that allows both public and private investment. The government is also expected to offer the citizens some degree of freedom to enable them to make independent choices on which goods or services to buy. High degree of economic freedom often enhances priva
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