China’s Great Leap Backward

– On October 1st, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the formation of the People’s Republic of China. In his speech he declared victory over nationalists and imperialists, and stated his intention to
protect the people’s lives and property, to relieve the
people of their sufferings and to struggle for their rights. The goals of Chinese communism, were not so different from the goals of many socialist and
communist movements today. Equality, workers’ rights, an
end to economic exploitation, and of course, democracy. Mao proudly stated that
his ascent to power represented the will of the whole nation. But goals are not the same as outcomes. The economist F.A. Hayek
once observed that, “The curious task of economics “is to demonstrate to men
how little they really know “about what they imagine they can design.” Chairman Mao imagined he could
design the Chinese economy to conform with his will. He relocated farmers and
peasants into urban factories where their agricultural
skills were useless. He redirected rivers into soft ground where they quickly dried up. He directed the people to
slaughter birds to protect crops, only to find that without predators, the insect population became
even more destructive. Millions starved, and as discontent grew, the social and political rights of the people were
stripped away one-by-one. Complete totalitarianism
descended upon China. You were told where to work,
what to do, what to wear, and even when to breathe. There was no freedom of speech. And any pretense of democracy,
became a cruel joke. Chairman Mao’s ambitious
economic programs, the Great Leap Forward, followed
by the Cultural Revolution, sought to bring about a socialist utopia. Instead they resulted in
the greatest mass murder in human history. Never forget that socialism kills.


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