George Walford: The Enduring Base (4)

After it had been recognised that Russia was not, after all, on the road toward communism, it was China that took on the revolutionary halo. But after the Hundred Flowers Movement, the Great Leap Forward, the Socialist Education movement and the Cultural Revolution had all collapsed the People’s Democracy of China, like Soviet Russia before it (but even more completely), came to accept that although economic individualism carries severe disadvantages yet the general body of the people, as well as the successful few, tend to be better off when it is recognised than when it is suppressed.

Abandonment of the attempt to enforce economic collectivism, and acceptance of a wide extent and high degree of economic individualism were formalised in the ‘Responsibility System.’ Since then “rural per capita incomes have doubled and production has risen by almost 8 per cent per year.” Foreign trade is increasing rapidly, oil and petroleum products are being exported, and China is even competing effectively with Japan in light industrial products. “The talk everywhere is of wages, bonuses, and what to buy next.” (Observer 11 Aug 85)

from Ideological Commentary 20, September 1985.