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Lecture 14-One-Child Policy

Lecture 14-One-Child Policy - Lecture 14 A Scientific...

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Lecture 14 A Scientific Management of Society: the case of one-child policy The topic of this week’s class is China’s one-child policy. The one child policy was implemented in 1980. Since then it had become one “fundamental state policy” (h h ). Because of the coercive measures used to execute this policy in rural areas, such as forced abortion and forced sterilization of women in child-bearing ages, one- child policy incurred severe criticisms from the international world. In contrast to Mao’s Great Leap Forward which was anti-science and anti-specialists, top scientists, particularly missile and rocketry scientists played crucial role in the making of one- child policy in China. The one-child policy in China is often called “family planning” in English. But should we let each family decide how many children they want to have; or should the state make this plan for all the families in China? The emphasis of this week is that there are alternative ways to control population growth: from individuals’ voluntary action, to non-mandatory government policies , and the harsh and violent one-child policy. Why did the Chinese government adopt such a strict, draconian policy to control population growth? We use it as a case study to examine the idea and practice of the state planned economy. In the case of collective farming, we see the conflict between peasants’ incentive to work hard and the state monopoly in grain purchase and distribution. In the case of one-child policy, we will see again the conflict between peasants and government plan. Before address these questions, let’s introduce you the backgrounds. After the disaster of the Great Leap Forward in 1958-1960, Mao had to retreat from making economic policies and let the economic planners to recover the Chinese economy. The major features of these economic planners included Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, and Chen Yun. Between 1961 and 1965, they helped to recover the Chinese economy and their economic policies are quite different from Mao’s radical ones. First, they depended upon experts and specialists in industrial development. They of course stopped the primitive furnaces in producing steel and iron. Second, they emphasized a balance between investment and consumption, between heavy industry and light industry, and between agricultural and industrial development. In other words, they did not expect miracle in agricultural output. In agricultural production,
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