Saturday, May 5, 2012

Obama’s motto “Forward” has the ring of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”

Great Leap Forward Propoganda Poster 1958
Let’s hope nothing like it happens here.  China’s Great Leap Forward (1958-61) was Mao’s ill conceived effort to jump start China from a rural economy into an industrialized nation overnight.  Not only did it fail, but it was a disaster of epic proportions.  An estimated 30 million Chinese died of starvation in its aftermath.  Mao’s later Cultural Revolution, which received greater publicity, can’t compare.  That was a political purification program.  The Great Leap Forward was destructive communist socialism at its worst.  It should be a lesson.

Backyard Furnace
Mao in all his wisdom wanted to build an industrial economy by uprooting peasants from their traditional lands and forcing them into self-sufficient people’s communes.  Farming was collectivized, Soviet style.  But communes went beyond that.  They were meant to be part of the newly industrialized economy.  Steel production was begun in backyard furnaces diverting much needed labor from growing and harvesting crops.  Coal to make coke was unavailable so they used charcoal made from trees, denuding the local forests.  With no steelmaking expertise, the steel was of such poor quality it couldn’t be used.

Eliminating the Last Sparrow 1959
But the greatest damage was to agriculture.  Poorly planned planting procedures were mandated by party officials in Beijing.  As mentioned above, labor was in short supply because of steel making.  There was no fertilizer.  Typical of problems in a communist society the ownership of night soil, the common fertilizer of the era, came into dispute.  Party officials said it was state property, the peasants claimed their own waste for their garden plots.  The state won.  When locusts began destroying crops, China began a program of enlisting it’s hundreds of millions in the effort to kill and many as possible.  That effort also included birds that were devouring the harvested grain.  Unfortunately this ill advised program made a greater dent in the bird population than 0n insects.  The results were predictable.  Insects thrived without birds to control them.

Despite the agricultural shortages, grain was sent to the cities leaving rural China to starve.  And they did.

You would think we should have learned our lessons by now that command economies simply do not work. But this administration continues to run hell bent into ideologically driven projects.  It still promotes electric generation policies with costs double to quintuple existing methods.  It pushes electric cars the public refuses to buy and it forces us to buy oil from unreliable nations who maintain a pricing cartel to keep prices high.

But unlike China of Mao’s era and today’s, we still have the ability to vote these people out.