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19 February 2012


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One comment talked about college enrollment during Cultural Revolution. Have you been to such a "college" during Cultural Revolution? Simply put: it is a disgrace to the word "education". Get some facts if you were not there.


I've came across. It really helps make reading your blog a lot easier.


China's economic development since 1978 is indeed an extraordinary accomplishment. It is somewhat misleading, however, to begin the analysis with 1978 or to not address its historical roots or the question of levels of inequality within China. The fact is that China experienced very high growth rates over much of the period from 1949 to 1978 as well, but the benefits of these were distributed in a much more egalitarian fashion, establishing a baseline in terms of nutrition, healthcare and access to education that then enabled China to much more effectively utilize its "human capital" to achieve capitalist take-off after 1978. The tragedy of the post-1978 Chinese miracle is the simultaneous transformation of China from one of the most economically egalitarian societies in the world to one of the least. In any event, the widespread attribution of the post-1978 take-off to the demolition of the Mao-era egalitarianism is ahistorical. One important example of all this that that during the Cultural Revolution, which is widely portrayed as enormously disruptive to education, enrollment at universities actually expanded enormously. The post-1978 expansion would have been inconceivable without the expansion of access to higher ed for working class and peasant youth that was in fact central to the Cultural Revolution. Giving Mao credit for anything is of course anathema to the hegemonic narrative, but there you go.

farmland investments

This is a great post, and how could one not agree with it. Until Deng Xao Ping (excuse the spelling) launched his economic reforms in 1979, China was a dirt poor, third would country with living standards in the countryside no higher than many African countries. I grew up with a Chinese kid in Birmingham in the UK who took a trip to his ancestral village in China right around '79-'80. When he returned, the descriptions he gave! Chickens walking around the village, villagers wearing old torn clothes and living in mud huts, and the outhouses seemed like a horror. What has China grown since then - by a factor of at least 10x? There is absolutely nothing in history to compare to this, and many laypeople do not understand or realize the stunning achievements the Chinese have made. Very shortly, they will be back in their historically accustomed place as the largest economy in the world.

David O'Donnell

Vice President Xi Jinping of China is very welcome to Ireland this weekend.

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John Ross

  • Is Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China

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