In December 1978 the Chinese Communist Party announced dramatic changes in policy for both agriculture and industry that seemed to repudiate the Maoist “road to socialism” in favor of certain “capitalist” tendencies. The motives behind these changes, the nature of the reforms, and their effects upon the economy and political life of countryside and city are here analyzed by five political scientists and five economists. Their assessments of ongoing efforts to implement the new policies provide a timely survey of what is currently happening in China.
Part One delineates the content of agricultural reforms—including decollectivization and the provisions for households to realize private profits—and examines their impact on production, marketing, peasant income, family planning, local leadership, and rural violence. Part Two examines the evolution of industrial reforms, centering on enterprise profit retention, and their impact on political conflict, resource allocation, investment, material and financial flows, industrial structure, and composition of output. Through all ten chapters one theme is conspicuous—the multiple interactions between politics and economics in China’s new directions since the Cultural Revolution.