By: Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University
Initial resulted of 30 million of extra deaths from collectivization movement in China’s agriculture Crisis in 1959 to 1961. The question was asked “Should the member break the promise and let the collective collapse or honor the commitment and prevent the disintegration of the collective?” , the reporter has stressed on main reasons or research problem is “a game theory hypothesis propose the main cause of this catastrophe, it was argued because of the difficulty in supervising agriculture work; however, the nature of collectivization was thus changed; that is why self-enforcing contract could not be sustained and the agriculture productivity collapsed”.
The article had shown the successful of collectivization in 1950s of China’s agriculture output with it was a model of agricultural development and taken to be practical in many countries; however, it was vanished suddenly due to the output dropped rate of grain during 1959 to 1961. The main reasons for the sudden collapse of agricultural production after the initial success of the collectivization campaign were not well understood because of the statistical blackout in China. The commonly accepted hypotheses were raised in the paper such as three successive years of bad weather, bad policies and bad management in the collectives, and the incentive problem due to unwieldy size of collectives.
The report had shown with difference sections from different sources. The first section reviewed the collectivization movement, and agriculture development strategic in China. The second section was the competing hypothesis, and the testing if the relative validity was raised in section three. Finally, the contrasts those hypotheses was raised in section number 4 within conclusion and remarks was provided in the last context.
The paper had shown that the economy had recovered from the destruction of war was quickly building up nation power through Stalinist heavy-industry-oriented development strategy. However, the demand of the agriculture production had been increasing in order to satisfy by the domestic production. Furthermore; productions increasing were very impacted to simultaneous development of agriculture and industry, and it was a dual core strategy to mass mobilization of rural labor to work on the labor-intensive projects. The land of farming before communist takeover was large but it was fragmented. The land reform program was implemented by the communist party after taking over in 1940s was confiscated from landlords, and provided to tenant, but it was stopped in 1952.
The paper had shown the various form approaches to collectivization. The completion of household cooperation is officially approached to collectivization such as mutual-aid team, elementary cooperative, and the advanced cooperative form, and it was initially surprisingly successful in its stages even the population increase during 152 to 1958. The collectivization was rooted in the notion that mobilization rural surplus labor or it referred to increase productions. However, the collectivization cannot be applied to the large-scale projects. Therefore, the Great Leap Forward policy was imposed in 1958. Because of the policy, billions of person-days of labor were thus mobilized. The commune movement caused the devastating of cropped output failure which leads to excess deaths in estimated 30 million. Other realistic approach toward agriculture development was adopted after crisis. The old strategy was replaced with new one, and the intuitional policy had been revised. In short, collectivization was initially a voluntary movement but became imposed in the fall of 1958. Before the crisis of 1959 to 1961, collectivization was utilized primarily as vehicle to mobilize a labor force for constructing labor-intensive project and increasing traditional input in agricultural production. After the crisis, more emphasis was placed on modern technology and input.
The customarily proposed hypotheses for the sudden collapse of the agriculture after the initial success of the collectivization movement are three successive years of bad weather, bad policies and bad management, and the incentive issue arising from the unwieldy size of a commune. The argument of bad weather was stressed that this hypothesis was one of the explanation for the calamity and it was not impossible because of the susceptibility of agriculture to climate changes. Based on bad policies and management was implemented by central and local authorities during communal movement was plausible; however, many factors was considerable disruption of productions such as misallocation of resources, mishandling of collective property, etc. Besides, those hypotheses, incentive issue in the commune because of its unwieldy size appears to be the most convincing cause for the suddenly collapse of agriculture as well. The villagers were assigned to work differently, but they could get different earning point offered, and moreover, the lack of connection from other villagers to one another was one of unproductive and lack of supervision. Those arguments were raised to be plausible explanations for the catastrophe; however, all findings were more likely to be found in the change of the nature of the collectivization from the repeated to one game in the fall of 1958. From the incentive point of view, the deprivation of the right to withdraw has significant impact on the incentive structure of the collective.
From the discussion in the report, it was found that there existed any easy way to evaluate the hypotheses to establish the main cause for the precipitous slump in the agriculture productions. If the conventional hypotheses are valid, regardless of whether the collapse is explained by this argument or that, or even by a combination of any or all the three arguments it would nonetheless remain true that after the production team system was instituted and the loss of labor force and draft animals was rectified, agricultural productivity should had recovered to the level reach before the disaster of 1958. On the other hand, if the game theory hypothesis is valid, the productivity level reached during the production team system period should be lower than productivity level reached during both the individual household farm period and the voluntary cooperative period.
To examine the agriculture productivity, a literature view was raised from Tang’s study which was covered the period 1952 to 1980. The gross value of agriculture output is calculated from grains, cash of crops, and livestock. The input was measured by weights include labor, capital, and it was adopted after consulting to national agriculture growth accounting. However, Wen extended Tang’s work in 1989 to cover the year up to 1988. Wen raised two critiques question of Tang’s. One is the factor of shares to use individual input and the method of integration of various inputs. A lot of methods had been raised by Wen to measure of agriculture productivity. Therefore, it could be concluded from the evidence of the change of incentive structure and due to the deprivation of the right to withdraw from a collective that the transition from a voluntary to a compulsory collectivization in the fall of 1958 was the main cause of catastrophe in 1959 to 1961 and the conventional hypotheses are on the secondary explanations.
Collectivization has been promoted as strategy for all developing countries especially the development of agriculture. The initial success of this movement was followed by sever difficulties and a long period of stagnation in the agriculture. The success of agriculture collective depends inescapably on the tactic agreement of self-discipline established by the collective members. However, a self-enforcing agreement can be sustained only if the members of the collective have the right to quite the collective when the other members do not honor their agreement.