GREAT LEAP FORWARD 7
Thegreat leap forward was socioeconomic with the aim of changing theagrarian socioeconomic culture of the China to an industrializedculture which was set in motion by Mao. The initiation of the programwas nine years later after Mao’s seizure of power and had itsground on the Marxian prescription of advances in technology. Despitethe good intention of the plan, it did not end well as it was theinitial plan. The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis ofMao’s great leap forward by discussing the origin, Mao’s visionbefore the leap, the economic effects, political effects, the socialeffects as well as the consequences.
Mao’sgreat leap forward
Thegreat leap forward was a campaign in the history of China under theleadership of Mao. The intention of the economy was to modernize theeconomy of China so that her economy would be in competition withthat of America (Alfred, 1998). Before the initiation of the plan,Mao had toured China and undoubtedly made the conclusion that theChinese had the capability of doing any task. This assertion impliesthat any plan would be met by the Chinese people to make the campaignsuccessful (Bachman, 1991). Mao had the feeling that there were twoprimary tasks they were to major on, namely, industry and agriculture(Ashton et al, 1984). As a result, Mao made an announcement of afive-year plan lasting from 1958-1963, namely, the great leapforward.
Inessence, the plan of the Great Leap Forward was the development ofagriculture and industry (Bachman, 1991). Mao had the belief thatboth had to grow, to consequently allow the growth of the other(Forster, 2001). This assertion implies that the prosperity of theindustry lied on a well-fed workforce. Likewise, the agriculturalworkers needed the industry for the production of the much neededmodern tools to allow modernization (Chipman, 2011). What followsfrom this assertion is that, there was a need for the reformation ofChina into a communes’ series for the achievement of the plan.
Effectsof the Mao’s great leap forward.
Thegreat leap forward had social, economic, and political effects to theChinese (Dikotter, 2010). The great leap forward was responsible forthe formation of communes. The composition of a commune was fivethousand families. There are a number of impacts for these communesto the social life of the Chinese. Firstly, the life of the Chinesewas under the control of communes. Secondly, schools and nurseries,healthcare services, and entertainment were the responsibility of thecommunes (Williams, 2007). Because of the role and the setup of thecommunes, the social life of the Chinese was improved (Grada, 2013).This improvement is attributable to the fact that the communespromoted interactions of the people as they engaged in theiractivities in a commune.
Acomprehensive analysis of the Mao’s great leap forward shows thatits results in the first year resulted in a severe economic crisis.By the first year, it was clearly evident that there was animprovement in the agricultural and industrial sector (Li, 2005).This assertion is persuasive because of the good harvest from theagricultural sector and the increase in industrial output by morethan fifty percent in the first year of the plan. It is, however,arguable that great leap forward resulted in worse economic effectsfrom the occurrences in the second, third, and fourth years of thecampaign (The great leap forward, 1994). Such occurrences includeadverse weather, poorly constructed water controls, and inadequateresource allocations resulting in a decrease in the agriculturalproduce (Hughes, 1994).
Thefailure of the aim of the great leap forward resulted in politicalconflicts (Macfarquhar, 1983). There was dissatisfaction resulting inconflicts between opponents and proponents of the movement(Catastrophe and contention in rural China: Mao’s Great LeapForward famine and the origins of righteous resistance in Da FoVillage, 2008). Rather than seeking solutions to the challenges ofthe movement, chaos started. The conflicts resulted in the formationof the anti-rightists struggle.
Consequencesof the great leap forward
Thereare some consequences alongside the great leap forward experiencedfrom the second year of the campaign (Parsons, 2002). To begin with,the communes were subjected to tasks there had no capacity to achieve(Wheelright et al, 1999). Because of the pressure to perform,industrial machinery fell out of use because of the quick productionmethods. Various workers got injuries at the industries due to longworking hours (Thaxton, 2008). The weather conditions in 1959 werenot conducive (Thaxton, 2002). This fact coupled with poor farmingtechniques resulted in low harvests. The result of the low harvestwas starvation of the people leading to deaths (Yang, 1996).
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