What were some of Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms?

1 Answer
Apr 30, 2016

They could be summarised under The Great Leap Outwards and The Four Modernisations.


Deng felt that for China to emerge as a superpower in the 20th century she had to modernise her economy through a move towards a market economy. In turn this could only be done through opening up China to the West so as to access the expertise and technology so as to allow such modernisation to take place.

The Great Leap Outwards as the phrase suggests saw China open up her vast resources to countries such as the USA, Japan, France and The UK. Special Economic Zones in coastal areas were created, allowing foreign firms to open up bases and factories at very favourable rates.

Such technology was used in 4 key areas (The Four Modernisations), agriculture, industry, defence and science and technology.

In agriculture, large scale communes were dissolved. After peasants grew a quota for the state, they could grow anything they wished and sell it on the open private market. Sideline industries were allowed so as to supplement peasants' incomes. The state however still owned the land.

In industry the state allowed for the privatisation of whole sectors of the economy. Private businesses were allowed and factory managers given much more control. There was a move away from heavily subsidised state industries which were loss making. No longer were their guarantees for example employment as they moved away from The Iron Rice Bowl.

In defence, contracts were signed for foreign countries to modernise China's defence forces.

In science and technology the main area of development was in education. The constant chaos of the Cultural Revolution was replaced with a more traditional hierarchical approach based on competition and academic success.