The “great leap” was as its name suggested a great leap from reality to an obstructed reality that led to the death of millions of citizens who were under the Mao regime. It has been referred to as one of the biggest casualty of communist China and the defacto rule of strong handedness that intended to compete with the western world. It can be argued that Mao’s intentions were true and pure but the method by which he chooses to achieve those intentions was strewed. More so, it can be argued that leadership system instinctively predisposed the authoritarian rule that led to death of millions of Chinese peasants. Mao’s rule while it had positives in its doctrine, the great leap was a failure whose negative impacts have never been fully recorded. Collectivism and self-sustenance were the foundation on which “the great leap” was meant to indoctrinate but instead predisposed the Mao regime to failure and the push to industrialization.
The new democracy model aimed in creating a republic that allowed the people to be involved in the growth of the nation both economically and socially. However, the “Great Leap Forward” initiative was not going to work if the government was not going to get involved in creating a system that was going to initiate industrialization from the basic level of peasantry farming. Democracy has been defined as the implementation of decisions having the greatest support and thus, CCP with the largest following in the republic perceived its decision to be of a democratic model. The CCP at this time had a following of over 100 million people and the party’s model of decision making was assumed to represent every faction of these party followers. The question begging thus was if this model of decision making and program addressed the needs of the people it perceived to represent and whether the people represented agreed with such decisions.
The failure of a regime is measured by its inability to provide its citizens an above average life standard while at the same time be able to shun corruption and mismanagement. This attribute is always the defining judgment that allows such a regime to grow and eventually compete on the international stage. The great leap intended to provide self-sustainability and independence in a country that wanted to bypass Europe, America and the Soviet Union in the economic front. However, the implementation of the project was not supported by true intentions but rather by the fear of failing to please the leader. The local leaders choose to provide falsified data to Mao that showed a flourishing economy. The actual situation depicted a deplorable situation that resulted in the death of more than fifteen million peasant farmers. Mao’s regime was a failure without his knowledge.
“The Great Leap Forward” has been reported to be instrumental in the deaths of millions of the people it was meant to help by causing famine. The program has been criticized as being dictatorial in implementation as the CCP regime forceful made land owners to join into collective land ownership. The regime went ahead to tax these peasants and institute levies that hindered the advancement of these collective cooperatives. The government initiated a rationing system that was meant to curtail on the consumption of individual persons both in the rural and urban areas. The government became the sole grain purchaser, in a process that was claimed to help in “saving for leaner times.” These stored grains were later sold at a higher price to the people as a way of “controlling consumption” rates among its citizens.
Mao’s collectivism was based on the need to give his people a chance to independently provide and sustain themselves while at the same time boosts the country’s productivity. In setting up measures that allowed individuals to collectively be part of China’s growth, Mao was setting a foundation upon which China would surpass Europe and America in growth. His intention was to create a collectiveness that overally exceeded what industrial production would produce. This was seen in his encouragement of backyard furnaces and communal land ownership. However, his failure was that he believed in whatever information that he was fed by his subordinates without listening to what the people were saying. He was too distanced with the common citizen to see what his rule had resulted. His refusal to listen to his challengers and subsequent punish them for standing up to him, showed his disregard to situation that was going on. In a development, growth is seen in the ability of the leader to get actual information, which allows them to make decisions based on truth.
The program led to countrywide famine that led to the death of over 18 million people as they struggled to feed themselves in the face of government-controlled food production. This period is considered an important period in the creation of the current strong Chinese economy as it paved way for the mechanization and eventually industrialization of the Chinese economy. This system also gave the CCP monopolized power over other parties and allowed it to control the vast resources in the country. The dictatorial attitude of Mao Zedong rule created a monopolistic state that was able to control the every aspect of the Chinese people. It was an expensive affair that cost the country millions of its citizen’s lives. Importantly, the majority of the Chinese population lived in hardship and relied on agriculture as their main source of livelihood. This program abolished many of the cultural practices and allowed the Chinese people to pursue modern practices and innovativeness through education.
Incoming governments did not want to repeat Mao’s mistakes. This instituted through the party’s leaders a different model of governing that saw a change in the way ideologies were instituted. The government became more concerned on the actual situation and actively invested in projects that were meant to empower its citizens the ability to grow and improve their living standards. Importantly, China changed the ruling regime and initiated a number of changes. The “New Revolution” under Deng Xiaoping was initiated to ensure a complete turnaround from Mao regime. The regime refused to engage in ideological dogmaticism and choose to implement eclectic pragmatism that allowed liberalized authoritarianism. The regime also shifted to market socialism away from the command economy that Mao had previously set motion. Xiaoping believed that these measures ensured the shift of China’s economy from Mao’s totalitarian regime and gave China the opportunity to compete with other world economy. It also gave china the chance to focus on modernization that was both profitable and advantageous to the country and to the people.
Collectivism and self-sustenance were the foundation on which “the great leap” was meant to indoctrinate but instead predisposed the Mao regime to failure and the push to industrialization. Chinas history in the 19th and 20th century has been modeled to push China to modernization, wealth and power. While not all the ideologies worked, Mao’s ideology was an instrumental force in guiding China to its current economic success. The failures that Mao’s regime experienced helped the other government regimes to learn from them and institute regime changes that would mark China as an economic power house. Importantly, China was able to institute changes that gave it an advantage over other developing nations. Mao’s mistakes can only be perceived to have been “necessary” to the growth of China’s economy and the shift from a totalitarian regime. This helped China as a state to grow and today it challenges Europe, America and Russia in being the world’s powerful economy.
Shen, Zhihua., and Xia, Yafeng. Mao and the Sino-Soviet Partnership, 1945-1959: A New History (The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series). Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015