A. Plan of Investigation
The investigation will attempt to answer the question, “To what extent did Chinese agricultural reforms between 1978 and 1982 enable the success of the four modernizations?” Research will primarily be gathered on the nature of these reforms, how they compared to the agriculture policy of Mao during the Great Leap Forward and how Deng’s reforms enabled the possibility of economic growth and reform in the private sectors of China. Primary source such as official statistics of agricultural production kept in villages will be analyzed to determine the impact of overall government policy in villages and other agricultural centers. Other secondary sources will also analyze the overall effect that these agricultural reforms created in China. The impact of these policies would be analyzed to find a connection with increased economic production and economic reform in other sectors of the economy under Deng Xiaoping in later years.
B. Summary of Evidence
During the Mao era, agriculture was seen as an inferior part of development. Mao based his economic system off of the Soviet Union’s economic policy in the 1950s, which focused on the development and growth of industry (Huang, 17). During the period of Mao’s rule, lack of incentives and absence of markets constrained increases in agricultural output (Brandt 469). The majority of agricultural production was centered on food to sustain China’s growing population. However, most citizens were still unable to obtain food security and barely consumed 2,300 Calories a day (Brandt 471).
In addition to this, agricultural policy under Mao broke the link between rural and urban economies. It established an agricultural sector that was isolated from the urban economy. The agricultural sector was not able to, “supply labor to the nonagricultural sector, sufficient supplies of food to consumers, abundant raw inputs to industry, export to foreign markets, or rising incomes to its own population” (Brandt 469).
Throughout history, countries that followed these policies often achieved short term gains; however, the neglect of the agricultural sector slowed the pace of development and often led to the failure of initiatives and developmental efforts (Brandt 467). Brandt cites that neglect of agriculture excluded a large percentage of the population from industrial development. It was difficult to utilize rural resources to support other sections of the economy.
In order to revitalize the agricultural sector, Deng Xiaoping focused on three major areas: a return to the tradition farming system in place of Mao’s collective farming model, a substantial improvement in the prices received by farmers, and an expanded role of private markets for agricultural products. Deng replaced the collective farms that had been established in the 1950s with a system based on the distribution of long-term land contracts to individual households (Kau 105). Furthermore, “The state raised average farmgate prices...