Consolidating Industry

  • Philip ScrantonEmail author


Central to early 1960s industrial development was conserving resources and achieving a fresh balance between allocations for and expectations from heavy, light, and handicraft/rural manufacturing. Avoiding waste and generating consumer products that met peasants’ needs and stimulated their commitments to collective and household production became touchstones for enterprise practice during the post-Leap “adjustment period,” once the 1950s emphasis on steel and machinery sectors eroded. The principle of “self-generation” which underlay Leap enthusiasms was not abandoned, but rechanneled into guidelines for the next phase of building socialism. As before, conflicts and errors proved unavoidable, but experimentation continued with interfirm technical cooperation, loaning work teams from “advanced” plants to “backward” or beginner enterprises, and using traditional tools and practices to undertake large projects, such as the 12,000 ton forging press built at Shanghai’s leading shipyard. By mid-decade, tensions between permanent and temporary workers and between political cadres and practical managers escalated into expert-vs-red struggles, as in the Design Reform Movement, just ahead of the Cultural Revolution.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

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