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The historical rural development of China.

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For many developing countries that are not endowed with abundant natural resources like oil, coal, metal, and minerals - agriculture is their means of support. Sustainable agriculture is essential for future development in industry and urbanization. In order for agricultural growth to happen, one must possess the following resources: land, labor, capital and other essential inputs, such as fertilizers. Before embarking on full-scale agricultural production, one must have total control of the most important agricultural input -- the water supply; which is most often controlled via irrigation canals. Furthermore, a solid and uncorrupt political environment is crucial before such projects can even take place. China is one such developing country; with roughly 900 million of its inhabitant settled in rural areas, is very much concerned with its rural development and the need to sustain a Country with over 1 billion people. The context in which we will concentrate is the historical rural development of China. In contrast with Japan, China has a very complex history of rural development and economic growth. ...read more.


Contrasted with China, under the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government was engaged in constructing a productive economy. During the Meiji Restoration, the economic reforms implemented we so successful that the production of food began to grow faster than the population. Japan was able to enjoy such economic success party because trade with Western nations occurred much later than other nations. For example, trading activity between Western countries and China commenced earlier than Japan and was for this reason unable to enjoy the economic success that Japan was familiar with. After the first Opium War and the first unequal treaty several trading ports opened, westerners were granted special concessions within China's borders - extraterritorial rights, exemption from Chinese laws, etc. With the pervasive influence of Western aggressions, the governance of the Qing Dynasty was undermined. Throughout this period of imperialism, the rural decline in China was exacerbated. Widespread famine and illness was all too common. At the hands of Western brutality, China's landscape was no longer admired for its beauty but was now characterized by "deserted villages where packs of wild dogs tore at rotting corpses." ...read more.


From the 1950's until the 1980's, China adopted and executed radical reforms to stimulate rural agricultural production. The People's Republic of China instituted many policies to change the Country's preconceived notions of the peasant class - it sought to identify the peasantry as the lifeblood of communist China. Following the establishment of the new nation, communist policies granted peasants economic sovereignty in the form of land. Furthermore, to uphold their favored status in society and to preserve revolutionary mantras, Mao considered agricultural collectivization as the most efficient way to promote growth in the rural sector. Collectivization was seen as the idea means of organization: it would combine scarce resources, provide employment to rural surplus laborers and transfer revolutionary fervor into dedication towards expanding agricultural output. Mao's idea of rural collectives also allowed the communists to successfully recruit labor to construct small-scale public projects. Through China's looking glass, collectivization was considered a success. It provided an effective means to mobilize labor and to construct projects that would eventually provide positive long-run effects for China's agriculture sector. In addition, collectivization efficiently accumulated capital, supplied farmers with new technology, and modern farming techniques. Lastly, collectivization provided a means for rural villagers to cooperate and forge close relationships. ...read more.

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