Is Great Leap Forward policy great way to improve the economy of China?
Debate Rounds (3)
According to Guo Shutian, a former Director of Policy and Law in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture in the post-Mao era has stated that: agricultural performance only declined for 5 years in between 1949-1978 due to "natural calamities and mistakes in the work".In addition, Guo Shutian claimed that during this period the per hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%.Additionally, China's population grew by 77%, which means that China's per capita food production grew from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms.
Furthermore, while Deng Xiaoping criticised the 'faliure' of the GLF policy, his own figures refutated his own claims as it was suggested that industrial production increased by 11.2% per year from 1952-1976 and even by 10% a year during the Cultural Proletarian Revolution. This is further supported by the fact that in 1952 Industry contributed to 36% of gross national output, whilst in 1975, industry contributed for 72% of gross national output and agriculture contributed 26%. These statistics may be corroborated by statistics which show that heavy industry exponentially grew by 230% between 1958-1960 and that as a result, China's global output of steel and coal increased, with China becoming a global powerhouse in those industries.In addition, the numbers of China's technicians, engineers and capital multiplied. Additionally, industrial output 'lept' by 55% in 1958 alone! Therefore, it may be ascertained that China's GLF policy did in fact industrialise it's economy.
Moreover, the economic growth derived from the GLF policy resulted in immense social benefit for the Chinese people. Despite the purportedly high death toll resultant from a fall in living conditions, there is evidence that the Chines people fared better after the GLF Policy than before the GLF policy. As stated earlier, the 'official' report into the reported 'faliure' of the GLF Policy was compiled by Mao's chief nemesis, Deng Xiaoping,the moderate faction leader of the CPC(Communist Party of China) and directly opposed to Mao's ultra left faction. Subsequently, the report was little more than a smear campaign and as such was heavily biased against Mao and the GLF policy and should its contents including the estimated death toll should not be taken into account, which would mean that the GLF policy caused much lower casualties than the official estimate of 16 million people.
On the other hand, several contemporary sources have recorded that the GLF policy did not in fact ruin China's population, but rather bolstered it as well as the living standards which critics have thought to have decreased dramatically. It has become well known that during Chairman Mao's rule , ( which cornerstones include the GLF policy) China has experienced the promotion of gender equality, education, free nationwide healthcare and raised the life expectancy. Such social commentaries include Judith Bannister's admission of Mao's successes, and (by extension the GLF policy) in which she states that in 1973-75 China's life expectancy was higher then Africa, the Middle East, South America and many countries in Latin America.  She went to claim in 1981 that the People's Republic of China was a "super-achiever" in reducing the child mortality reduction, as it increased average life expectancy by 1.5 years every year since 1949. This sentiment is re-iterated by Roderick MacFarquhar in Origins of the Cultural Revolution, vol 2,  that the GLF "galvanized" the Chinese masses, as it gave the Chinese the belief that they could take control of their destinies and "leap forward" instead of sitting under the yoke of nature. These comments were bolstered by China's glowing improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI), which takes into account life expectations, education standards and income per capita, which are representative of living standards. With this taken into account, it may be proven that the GLF succeeded in its goal of industrialising and improving China's economy, thereby achieving adequate living standards for it's population.
In conclusion, China's Great Leap Forward was sucessful in it's general aims of improving China's economy, and subsequently improving the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of Chinese, particulary the peasantry. As seen beforehand, The Great Leap Forward did not damage China's people, crops, industry or economy. Rather, it provided the basis for the massive economic growth of the present and prior, and thus securing China's position as a global power and it's integration into an emerging, 2nd world economy.
J. Banister, China"s Changing Population, Stanford University Press 1987.
Origins of the Cultural Revolution, vol 2, Roderick Mcfarquhar
As mentioned prior in the 2nd round in relation to the agricultural impacts of China's Great Leap Forward (GLF) Policy, China's hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%. At the same time China's population grew by 77%, alongside China's per capita food production growing from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms.  This meant that China's agriculture industry not only met the population growth of 77%, but resulted in a surplus production of 92.9% which would indicate that China did in fact have enough crops to produce the grain needed for it's peasant populace. Furthermore, the whopping surplus of 92.9% was sold to overseas nations and resulted in increased economic performance in the GLF period, which was indicated by an increase in China's annual GDP by a staggering 27.9% during the GLF period( 1958-1960) at an average of 9.3% growth per annum.
Moreover it may be argued that China's GLF policy undoubtedly achieved it's main economic goals of increasing China's economic growth by primarily industrialising it's economy, which led China to be able to use it's mass labour resources to become the economy it is today.This is re-iterated by previous statistics which highlight China's increased industrial production of 11.2% annually from 1952-1976 and heavy industry growing by 230% during the GLF period.This apparent industrialisation is reinforced by industry doubling it's gross national output from 36% in 1952 to 72% in 1975 alongside agriculture which represented 28% of gross national output. The obvious ascendency of the industrial sector in comparison to the agriculture sector is a strong indicator of the GLF's inherent ability to transform China's economy from an agrarian one to an Industrial one. Therefore, the GLF policy can be concluded to have improved the Chinese's productive capacity, and clearly did not damage let alone destroy it's economy.
As a consequence of the GLF policy, the Chinese economy has helped shape it into the superpower that it is today which is evident by the policy stimulating China's industrial sector (which accounted for 44.1% of China's GDP in contemporary times and 11.3% of total employment, which has in turn helped China to become the leading manufacturer of chemical fertilizers, cement, and steel.) Nonetheless, China retained it's integral agriculture sector, albeit reducing it to a more consistent role as found in industrialised economies.This pivotal balance may be showcased by employment of a massive 300 million people which has again promoted China to rank #1 in another industry this time being worldwide farm output.
Additionally, the GLF policy, which has proved quintessential in establishing the aforementioned strength of it's targeted industries, has helped accomplished many milestones for the modern industrialised Chinese economy. These include, but are certainly not limited to; being the world's second largest major economy by nominal GDP, the world's largest economy by Purchasing Power Parity(PPP), the fastest growing economy from the 1980's to 2015 at an average annual rate of 10%, the largest exporter of goods, the fastest growing consumer good market and the largest trading nation in the world. As a result, the Chinese people are enjoying unexpected levels of wealth and are for all money on track to achieve Xi-Jiping's Chinese dream; that is for China to become a moderately well-off society by 2021, and to become a fully developed nation by 2049.
In conclusion, the Chinese's Great Leap Forward brought about countless improvements for the Chinese people in terms of their agriculture, industry and economy. This includes but was certainly not limited to; China's agricultural performance only declining for five non-consecutive years within a 30-year period, thereby providing the necessity of grain to it's respective peasant class, whilst still concurrently stimulating it's industry. This in turn resulted in a dramatic rise in living standards including the Human Development Index, life expectancy and social standards. In conclusion, it may be established that the Great Leap Forward, alongside all of associating effects were instrumental factors in the establishment of the current Chinese state as we know it and it's booming economy.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org... ( Amalgration of various sources, some unavailable)
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