Social Scientist. v 5, no. 58-59 (May-June 1977) p. 58.


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BEN STAV1S

Agricultural Performance and Policy:

Contrasts with India

CHINA'S AGRICULTURAL POLICY lias been marked by constant efforts for both equity and growth, based on the assumption that in the long run these policies can reinforce each other and do not conflict. The policies for equity—land reform to undermine the political power of rural elites, and collectivization, to assure reasonably equal sharing of rural resources within villages—are well known.1 Many analysts have thought that these socialist policies were incompatible with agricultural growth. Perhaps this notion was sparked by the experience in the Soviet Union, where collectivization of agriculture brought serious disruptions,, low investments (until recently), and management problems, compounded periodically by bad weather to give serious crop shortages. For years, some scholars have focused on analogous problems in China: popularization of inappropriate farm tools, seeds, and cropping systems; mistakes in planning: problems with incentives;

and attacks on agricultural scientists who had been educated in the west before the revolution.3

Virtually obscured by deserved discussion of socialist transformation and by truthful if not representative stories of problems was the fact that China has been undergoing a major agro-technical transformation. By the mid-1970s, China's agricultural productivity was quite high, and



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