Monday, April 14, 2014

Why Does China Not Have Famines Anymore?


For most of China’s history, famine was just an extreme version of the normal state of affairs. As recently as the late 1970s, 30 percent of China’s population was undernourished. Grains supplied the overwhelming majority of their calories. One in 3 children under the age of 5 had stunted growth.
It’s almost hard to believe how different today’s China has become. By 2005, fewer than 1 in 10 Chinese people were undernourished. Consumption of meat nearly doubled and fruit consumption more than tripled in the past three decades. Birth weights have risen, and the average 6-year-old child is two inches taller today than in the 1970s. (Pause on that incredible fact for a moment.) China feeds 20 percent of the world’s people using less than 10 percent of arable land, with plenty of food left over to export. Food has fueled the Chinese miracle.


But then it got weird.

Chinese central planners can also take credit for some of the investments made by Chinese farmers themselves. Around the time of the reform, the Chinese government increased the amount it paid farmers for their crops by around 25 percent. In a single year, Chinese farm income surged massively due almost exclusively to government policy. Many of the farmers put some of their capital windfall toward the purchase of chemical fertilizers, which flooded the Chinese market around the same time, further enhancing productivity.
Sheer luck played a major part in the incredible Chinese agricultural surge as well. Beginning in 1982, China saw some of the best years of farming weather in recorded history. Unless you think that was God’s way of endorsing the capitalist reforms, that change artificially inflated early 1980s productivity and magnified the positive effects of both the infrastructure investments and the capitalist reforms. "
So he's saying after hundreds of years of China being followed by a grey cloud of famine all of a sudden they got lucky?

Now maybe if China were the ONLY EXAMPLE of Communism we have then maybe we could argue that he might have a point.  But it's NOT the only example.

On top of that the 25% increase was actually a bit of Capitalism that incentivized farmers to produce more.  But the author just doesn't see it.

Even when things go completely right with Communism in the end it never goes like it's planned.  Because Communism removes self determinism from the equation.  When you do that, all is lost.  All is hopeless. 

And finally, if China stayed Communist the way it used to be,  does he really think their luck would hold out such that there would be few if any famines?

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