158GregoryZhouOffprint_pdf

158GregoryZhouOffprint_pdf - POLICYReview December 2009...

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PolicyReview is a publication of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Copyright 2009 by the Board of the Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to reprint up to 50 copies for classroom or nonprofit use. For other reprint permission, contact Policy Review , Reprints Department, 21 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 310, Washington DC 20036 or by email polrev@hoover.stanford.edu. P O LICY R e view December 2009 January 2010, No. 158 How China Won and Russia Lost By Paul Gregory Kate Zhou
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O n a dark November night in 1978 , 18 Chinese peasants from Xiaogang village in Anhui province secretly divided communal land to be farmed by individual families, who would keep what was left over after meeting state quotas. Such a division was illegal and highly dangerous, but the peasants felt the risks were worth it. The timing is significant for our story. The peasants took action one month before the “reform” congress of the party was announced. Thus, without fanfare, began economic reform, as spontaneous land division spread to other villages. One farmer said, “When one family’s chicken catches the pest, the whole village catches it. When one village has it, the whole county will be infected.” Ten years later, in August of 1988 , Mikhail Gorbachev lifted his nation’s 50 -year-old prohibition against private farming, offering 50 -year leases to How China Won and Russia Lost By Paul Gregory Kate Zhou Paul Gregory is the Cullen Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Houston and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Kate Zhou is Professor of Chinese Political Economy and Comparative Politics at the University of Hawaii. She is the author of How the Farmers Changed China (Westview, 1996) and China’s Long March to Freedom, Grassroots Modernization (Transaction, 2009). December 2009 January 2010 35 Policy Review
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36 Policy Review farm families who would subsequently work off of contracts with the state. Few accepted the offer; Russian farmers were too accustomed to the dreary but steady life on the state or collective farm. Thus began reform of agricul- ture in Soviet Russia. The results in each country could not have been more different. Chronically depressed Chinese agriculture began to blossom, not only for grain but for all crops. As farmers brought their crops to the city by bicycle or bus, long food lines began to dwindle and then disappear. The state gro- cery monopoly ended in less than one year. Soviet Russian agriculture con- tinued to stagnate despite massive state subsidies. Citizens of a superpower again had to bear the indignity of sugar rations. These two examples point to the proper narrative
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2011 for the course POLS 305 taught by Professor Zhou during the Spring '11 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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158GregoryZhouOffprint_pdf - POLICYReview December 2009...

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