Reform Could Not Have Happened Without Mao

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Without the People's Revolution...we could not even have conceived of the achievements of this 30 years.

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<p>I think there is a widespread view, especially in the West, but also, to some extent, among some Chinese intellectuals that this 30 years of reform was a total break from the first 30 years, so there is a big distinction between this 60 year anniversary and the 30 year anniversary. But, my personal view is that, of course, I think the reform and opening was really new, and there were many, many new and good institutional experiments and innovations in the 30 years of reform and opening. But I, personally, would like to stress that there are important continuations between the first 30 years [and the later 30 years]. My personal research shows that without the People's Revolution and the founding of the People's Republic of China, we could not even have conceived of the achievements of this 30 years of reform. &nbsp;So, this may sound strange, because most people think that this reform started precisely because of the failure of the first 30 years and the Maoist period. But I think, even the orthodox economic theory of investment, but also from a longer historical economic perspective, that, in important ways, that the first 30 years of the Maoist period laid down important institutional foundations for the reform and opening to become effective and successful. So I think, maybe, there is some irony and unintended consequences. &nbsp;Or even, some people would prefer some kind of historical dialectic working here. But I do think that without the first 30 years, the reform and opening could not have achieved what has been widely and collectively appreciated by people all over the world because most people, both in China and the world, I think, perceive the reform and opening as the key to building a market-oriented economy. [The key] to basically dismantling this very rigid central planning and also introduce private ownership of the means of production, to have a booming private sector. I think this emphasis on private ownership and a market-oriented economy is very important and it is true. They are very important ingredients in the success story of the reform and opening period.&nbsp; However, I think that if we have a larger comparative historical perspective, because many countries in the world have private market economies, like in Latin America, even in Africa, in many periods of history. Also, India. But, why hasn't every country which has a market-oriented economy and private ownership of means of production grown as fast as China in the last 30 years? I think that without the basic investment in the Maoist period in irrigation, in the building of lots of infrastructure, and the basic investment of building up China's industry -- because huge industrialization was carried out in the Maoist period because China was very underdeveloped industry before 49 -- and without establishing those basic industries, it makes no sense to talk about market heights, the product of those industries.&nbsp; So, I think we should emphasize both sides of this 30 years of reform and the 60 years. They were both major new developments in the reform period but, also, there was an important continuation with the earlier 30 years.</p>
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Cui Zhiyuan explains how the 30 years immediately following the Communist Revolution in 1949, however disastrous, were essential to the success of the Reform and Opening and the next 30 years.