Reforms in Chinese Agriculture have had its successes and failures over time. Originally, the agricultural sector was operating under a centrally planned system and now it is working its way to a market-oriented agricultural sector. In this paper the focus is going to be on the positive and or negative effects of the Great Leap Forward Movement, The Cultural Revolution, the commune system, and, the "responsibility system." Furthermore, the performance of grain production over the period of 1952 to 1988 will be briefly discussed.
An important first movement was The Great Leap Forward Movement, which was headed by Mao Zedong in 1958. This movement brought about the creation of communes, which is a collective economic unit. This movement did not free the agriculture sector from the control of the central government. Even though team members officially owned the land, they had no say in any economic decisions. The team members just followed instructions from the commune authorities on exactly what to produce on each piece of land. The goal of the central government was to provide adequate supplies of food products to the urban residents under a system of fixed shares of grain, meat, sugar, etc. The policies of the Great Leap Forward Movement caused famines and therefore the slow down of industrial output.
Another disturbance in the Chinese political arena was the Cultural Revolution. This was Moa's desperate attempt to regain political control by reaching out to Chinese youth. This in turn caused disturbances in the production of agriculture and economic planning. The Cultural Revolution also had a very serious impact on the number of youths getting enrolled in higher education.
The goal of the commune movement of 1958 was to merge the collective farms into larger units. Therefore the commune movement brought about a three-level organization, namely commune, brigade, and production team to run the collective work in the rural areas. "Between 1958 and 1984, the communes were responsible for procuring grain, for drawing up plans for subordinate units (the production brigades and teams), and for managing water and pest control, afforestation, and transportation projects. They also operated facilities for marketing crops, as well as stores selling consumer goods, seed, fertilizer, implements, and other farm inputs." So basically by 1985 the communes were transformed to economic units with no political influence. The commune movement was the key starting point for Chinese rural agriculture to become decentralized or in other words become free from complete control of the central government.
The reform of agriculture was required when the Chinese leaders finished experimenting with the commune system and central economic planning. They became aware of its many down falls and so they began to concentrate on a more market-oriented economy. One of the main shortcomings of the commune system was that farm workers had no...