How/why did china's economy developed so dramatically after the WW2? - Essay Prowess

How/why did china’s economy developed so dramatically after the WW2?

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Paper instructions:Each student will complete a research paper—typed, double-spaced, 12 point New Times Roman type, one-inch margins—on a country of his or her choice and approved by the TA. Each paper will focus on a topic that falls in the period from World War II to the present. The aim is NOT to write on current events but on events or trends in the past that can help give essential background for understanding today’s news. Library research using scholarly books and journals (not newspaper articles) will be the backbone of the assignment (at least three journal articles and two books should be used heavily in the research). Each paper will be organized around something puzzling in that country’s political, economic, or social experience at some time in the latter half of the twentieth century or the first decades of the present century. That puzzle will be expressed in a “why question,” which will be substantiated by qualitative or quantitative evidence. Students will develop an answer to that “why question,” which will be the argument of the paper, including further evidence to support that argument.
All papers must be written in MS Word, double-spaced, using Times Roman 12 point font, 1” margins.
you could write about deng xiaoping, which i think its a critical factors in china’s economy developing–

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How/why did China’s economy develop so dramatically after the WW II?

Introduction

The economic development evident in China marks a significant point in the understanding of how different economies work and what measures would result in growth. Over the years, the Chinese economy has had to overcome challenges brought about by both internal civil wars and invasions during world wars. The aspect of emerging victorious or not does not help in any way given that the extensive damage to basic infrastructure cripples economic productivity. The economy has been able to develop against the backdrop of negative publicity directed towards pointing out the inability of the economy to continue growing given the state of the world economy (Vogel, 2011). The devastation brought about by the wars further meant that many years would pass before China would be in a position to effectively grow its economy. Excellent leadership and better policy formulation would later be the major influencers of its growth to superpower status.

The vast size of both its geographical reach and population meant that governing always involved a lot of conflicts. These would lead to the splitting of regions depending on which warlord had more influence in a given region. This played into the hands of invaders during WW II as it became way difficult to present a unified front. This is exactly seen in the invasion by Japanese where China was falling in spite of support from the US army in both ammunition and food supplies (Wong, 2005). However, when Japan was defeated by the US, changes in China were inevitable given that both Chairman Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek had positioned themselves as leaders during the waring period (Laurenceson and Chai, 2006). The risk of developing into another civil war between the two factions was still there thus the formation of a coalition by the two leaders was viewed as a favorable outcome.

Leadership

The emergence of China as an independent state after the end of the second world war was a significant step towards the unification of the entire region. However, the hallmark was the coalition formed between the two leaders. This coalition meant that more resources could be directed towards investment in necessary infrastructure given the prevailing peaceful conditions. This shows the role played by leaders in pacifying a region and helping end civil wars that had lasted decades. However, economic progress would not be attained immediately after this period due to existing policy practices that governed the way business was conducted throughout China (Zhang, 2010). Peaceful coexistence during this period was a great achievement as it helped in a much smoother transition of power during the decades that followed. Bleak economic prospects would persist in China until the 1980s when a new outlook of economic governance and international trade was adopted (Wong, 2005).

The structuring of China as it is known today can be traced back to the input made by Deng Xiaoping. Although earlier he had been opposed to the idea of using foreign technology in China for economic growth, he ended up engineering much of the social and economic aspects. Deng had over the years since the end of the world war II, and the unification of China served in various positions in the government as a policymaker (Vogel, 2011). However, his views towards what needed to be done for economic development to be realized in China went against the views of Mao which contributed to his purge from government positions in 1967. He was later reinstated in 1973 becoming vice chairman of the Central Committee (Zhang, 2010). However, the supporters of Mao were able to ensure a second purge of Deng from the government.

The return of Deng to prominence followed the death of Mao and his subsequent reinstatement under the leadership of Hua Guofeng in 1976 (Vogel, 2011). However, the political prowess of Deng led to the eventual removal from power of Hua Guofeng in 1977 who was replaced by people closely politically connected to Deng. This included Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang who became government premier and secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) respectively (Wong, 2005). This change allowed Deng the freedom to initiate the various policies he deemed necessary for the economic development of China. One of the significant policies introduced during the time included the one-child policy which was aimed at helping slow down population growth. Also, Deng further instituted the decentralization of economic systems in China. This was to be achieved through long-term planning and a form of controlled growth for the Chinese economy.

The model of growth included allowing individuals more control regarding owning properties such as land and determine its management and profitability. A case in this was the authority given to Chinese farmers to own land and determine its usage which significantly contributed to in an increase in agricultural production compared to previous periods where land was centrally managed by the government leading to exploitation of farmers (Laurenceson and Chai, 2003). Deng also promoted the notion of knowledge acquisition especially in the technical fields which would later help increase the number of skilled laborers in the Chinese economy. Given its massive population, such a milestone would not be hard to attain if basic educational facilities were availed. By 1981, Deng had orchestrated the opening up of the Chinese economy for international market through freeing industrial enterprises from government control and allowing foreign investment (Zhang, 2010).

International trade orientation

The shifting of economic strategy helped propel China into a major player in the world market. The shift included encouraging players in different markets to work towards attaining sufficiency in export market by increasing their production volumes (Shenggen & Zhang, 2004). While the domestic market plays a huge role in the development of a company, foreign markets provide additional sources of revenue which to some may end up outstripping the domestic revenues. China had large population thus cheap skilled labor became readily available. This allowed lowering of production costs hence encouraging making Chinese made products to be relatively cheaper in foreign markets. Another focus in international trade involved allowing foreign investors to put in capital in various sectors (Liang & Jian-Zhou, 2006). While this was strictly controlled by the central government, it allowed for foreign companies to form partnerships with local companies and shift their production activities there to enjoy the low production cost. 

Over the years, this model has led to the production of most of the consumer electronic products used across the world in China. The Chinese economy has positioned itself as a location in which the lowest production cost for most products can be attained thanks to policy reforms by Deng (Vogel, 2011). Manufacturers who relocate to China also tend to enjoy low prices for raw materials as the production levels in other sectors has also been boosted. The foray into international trade has also been met with a lot of criticism of factors such as employee exploitation and poor working conditions. While that can be seen as valid when compared to employee relations in other developed nations, a lot has been achieved during the span leading to alleviation of poverty within China (Tisdell, 2009). Industrialization has contributed to the expansion of the economy and consequently the growth of the middle-income segment of the population. 

Economic policies

The recovery from war for China was paramount given the extensive effects they had to contend with after being ravaged by both civil wars and warfare with other countries throughout 1945-1949 (Vogel, 2011). At the point when China became an independent nation, most of the infrastructure was in poor condition and productivity in industries at its lowest. Most notable is the fact that the Soviet Union had taken most of the machinery previously used in Chinese industries. The rest of the infrastructure fell apart as the damage exceeded government capacity in terms of maintenance and rebuilding. As basic services such as transportation and communication deteriorated, other sectors such as agriculture were eventually caught up. While previously still underperforming during the war, the Chinese agricultural output continued to record low numbers even after the war (Chen & Feng, 2000). Risk of famine was consistently there in spite of relative peace within its borders.

The major role expected to be played by the coalition government between Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek was to return the country to normalcy (Zhang, 2010). This included ensuring that necessary infrastructure such as transport systems was rebuilt. This was important since it would aid the movement of labor and resources from one region to the next thus eventually signaling the return of economic activities. Another major task was the revival of agriculture. This was an important point given the huge population who relied on agriculture as both the source of food and income. The policies formulated during this period thus leaned towards giving the government more control in determining economic activities through actions such as the nationalization of the banking sector and creation of state-owned corporations (Wong, 2005).

First five-year plan

The primary intent of the government after the recovery was to initiate policies that would influence growth in industrial output. This was viewed as the best option for helping the economy rise, something which the ruling party CCP advocated for strongly. The plan included support from the Soviet Union in both financial support and technical skills. The impact of the move was felt after a short while as the output levels of various industries started rising. For example, the production of coal grew 98 percent since the start of the initial five-year plan to its end in 1957 (Zhang, 2010). This was a tremendous achievement as it provided adequate stimulation of the economy through production. Other industries that benefitted from Soviet technical skills included steel production and petrochemicals. However, increased industrialization and the growth of urbanization had a negative impact on agricultural output. 

Great Leap Forward

This phase of Chinese economic development provides a picture of how poor implementation of policy can further reduce gains attained from another policy. The Great Leap Forward initiated in 1958 was a response to the failure of the previous plan to generate meaningful agricultural output growth while industrial output kept on increasing (Liang & Jian-Zhou, 2006). Moreover, the Soviet Union had withdrawn its technical support in China in addition to curtailing any further financial assistance. The basis of the five-year plan was that through an increase in agricultural productivity, the surplus could be used for the acquisition of capital goods such as machinery. However, industrialization reduced agricultural output in China as more resources were dedicated to industries. The agricultural surplus could also hardly be attained in China given the simple fact of the huge population and frequent natural calamities that negatively affected output from the sector.

The strategy employed during this period included the decentralization of manufacturing operations. This was hoped to reduce the need for acquisition of capital and rather the full utilization of the available labor force through small neighborhood factories. If successful, the plan would ensure the continued development of industrial development while also providing an avenue for agricultural growth (Shenggen & Zhang, 2004). The move away from the Soviet system to a more labor-intensive and less machine reliant system failed right from the onset. As small factories were established in rural areas, there was a diversion of labor from agricultural activities. This meant that agricultural output from such regions immediately worsened as fewer people were working on the farms. With food shortage and farmers increased opposition to the entire project eventually it had to be repealed by the year 1960 (Vogel, 2011). Farming land that was previously being managed through the commune systems was gradually returned to individual farmers.

Readjustment and recovery

Following the failure of the Great Leap in delivering both agricultural and industrial development in China, a new age of revolutionary thinking emerged through 1960 (Lee et al., 2015). It was quite clear that Mao’s vision for the country had failed them, a fact which would, later on, reduce his authority when it came to policy making. The initial activities of the readjustment included the increased involvement of the army towards the management of significant aspects of the Chinese economy. To attain control, the army started with the consolidation of power where those opposed to the government were purged. This was seen as an efficient way of forcing the restoration of obedience to the leadership following great dissent after the failure of the Great Leap Plan (Zhang, 2010). However, the shortcomings of the plan eventually wore off, and Mao was able to regain his influence as a leader throughout the period.

Through the year 1962, concentration shifted to matters dealing with policy formulation and the general progress of the nation (Vogel, 2011). Deng Xiaoping is appointed during this period as the top administrator for CCP. However, Mao found that the ideology being pushed by Deng formed basis for violation of the ongoing revolution. This did not stop them from coming up with a series of policy papers geared towards rescuing the Chinese economy from the failures of the Great Leap Plan. Some of the recommendations included the reduction of communal farms to smaller units in a way that farmers could easily be rewarded depending on their input. This led to the eventual breakdown of the commune system of land management and gradually increased agricultural output. Power remained a great motivator in policy formulation throughout this period with leaders seeking alliances with Mao to remain in power, while others such as Deng Xiaoping were hassled for being perceived as possible candidates to replace Mao (Wong, 2005).

Economic system reform in China

The process of economic reforms in China from the year 1978 when Deng Xiaoping was largely in power (Vogel, 2011). Major setbacks to the ruling at the time were that it was gradually losing support from the population due to failure in policies enacted earlier. Therefore, programs such as the Responsibility System were initiated in rural areas where agreements could be reached between farmers and processors on quotas. This meant that any produce above the quota could be sold in the free market which helped improve efficiency levels of farms. This helped in dealing with unrest especially from rural areas as output was matched to reward. Another aspect of the economic reform includes the open-door policy (Lee et al., 2015). This helped propel the country towards the formation of joint ventures between foreign and domestic companies thus increasing the value of exports.    

Conclusion

One of the primary objectives revolved around ensuring adequate food supply in the Chinese economy for the sole purpose of the country first being able to feed its population. The poor performance of the agricultural sector would thus result to not only food scarcity within China but also increase in poverty levels at a point when the economy was underperforming. However, strategic policy input by Deng Xiaoping helped rescue the economy in spite of a series of failed attempts since the country became independent in 1949 (Zhang, 2010). This provides an analysis of how proper leadership with objective policies can be an effective tool towards economic growth regardless of the cultural orientation. In addition, it is clear that the absence of war provides a formidable opportunity on which scarce resources can be redirected to life-enhancing expenditures as was with China, after the leaders’ coalition.

References

Chen, B., & Feng, Y. (2000). Determinants of economic growth in China: Private enterprise,        education, and openness. China Economic Review, 11(1), 1-15.

Laurenceson, J., & Chai, J. C. (2003). Financial reform and economic development in China.        Edward Elgar Publishing.

Lee, C. C., Lee, C. C., & Chang, C. P. (2015). Globalization, economic growth and institutional   development in China. Global Economic Review, 44(1), 31-63.

Liang, Q., & Jian-Zhou, T. (2006). Financial development and economic growth: Evidence from  China. China economic review, 17(4), 395-411.

Shenggen, F. A. N., & Zhang, X. (2004). Infrastructure and regional economic development in     rural China. China economic review, 15(2), 203-214.

Tisdell, C. (2009). Economic reform and openness in China: China’s development policies in the  last 30 years. Economic Analysis and Policy, 39(2), 271-294.

Vogel, E. F. (2011). Deng Xiaoping and the transformation of China. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap  Press of Harvard University Press.

Wong, Y. (2005). From Deng Xiaoping to Jiang Zemin: Two decades of political reform in the      People’s Republic of China. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Zhang, W.-W. (2010). Ideology and economic reform under Deng Xiaoping, 1978-1993.   London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

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