A picture of a relentless drive for industrialization at the expense of living standards is presented in this authoritative comparison of the economic development of China in the Communist and pre-Communist periods. The authors have made a quantitative analysis of the economy of the Chinese mainland from 1952 to 1959 and related it to accounts for 1933. Their interpretation differs dramatically from official Communist statements; and their findings cast serious doubt on Communist claims for annual increases in national income. For 1958, for instance, the official figure for the rate of increase was 34 per cent, but the true rate was probably nearer to 14 per cent.
Originally published in 1965.
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