In the decade of the 1980s all of the world’s Marxist regimes except for North Korea abandoned the centrally planned economic model to undertake market-oriented reforms. In many countries these efforts seemed to lead more directly to chaos and confusion than to new economic vitality. Within this context the successes of China’s rural economic reforms are particularly noteworthy. Despite difficulties China’s reform programme brought about a new rural economic system based on the market and achieved tangible growth in production levels and in national living standards well before similar progress became apparent in the formerly socialist countries of Eastern Europe. As director of the State Council’s Rural Development Research Center (RDRC) for much of the decade, Du Runsheng was a major voice for the rural reform programme and his views played an important part in the reform strategy. In addition to shedding light on the process of policy development and enunciation in China, his comments also contain valuable lessons concerning the difficult task of converting a centrally planned economy into a market-based system.
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- 12.Nicholas R. Lardy, Agriculture in China’s Modern Economic Development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 37–8.Google Scholar