The current lie, or meme, in US, if not world, popular culture, is “Mao ruined China.” If they are being charitable, they say, “Mao nearly ruined China.”
People can and do say anything to further their cause, in this case, the cause of neoliberal capitalism and especially imperialism. Since Maoism is one of most potent enemies of both these days, it needs to be stamped out by any means necessary, lies, truth, whatever it takes, just take it out, who cares how you do it.
Let’s take a look at the real record here.
Keep in mind that the comparisons to India are because China and India were at the same level in 1949. The record below indicates how horribly India has failed compared to Maoist and even neo-Communist China. There’s no comparison. China kicked India’s ass. Indian capitalism has been nothing but 60 years of repetitive failure.
In 1949, the Chinese peasantry existed on the border of starvation and death. Life expectancy was 32 years. As if that was inevitable, note that in Russia in 1913, life expectancy was 32 years. By 1949, it was 63 years. A 32 year life expectancy for China in 1949 was not inevitable for any possible universe. More than anything else, that figure alone represents the utter and complete failure of Chinese semi-feudal capitalism.
If a peasant was ill, if he had money, he could go to a clinic in the city. If not, he would wait until he either got better or died. There were no medical facilities in the rural areas. People might add that this was inevitable in any possible China. But was it really? This was the situation in Russia in 1916. By 1949, there were clinics in every Russian village, and hardly a Russian lacked for medical care. Why was horrific lack of medical care inevitable?
By 1976, there was a polyclinic in every Chinese commune and a medical facility in every district.
Apologists, generally neoliberals who oppose all state spending on health care, since health care is a matter of private sector, say that this was inevitable. But was it really? Says who? China had not accomplished this in the decades before 1949, so why would they have accomplished it afterwards? Further, there are many nations where health care is still about as bad as 1949 China. The Maoist record on health care was so Earth-shatteringly great that even the UN’s World Health Organization complemented China on its achievement.
In 1949, China had serious problems with smallpox, leprosy, pestilence, cholera, malaria and tuberculosis. By 1976, they were nearly wiped out. Apologists say that this was inevitable? But why? The Chinese capitalists had failed, or not even tried to eliminate epidemic diseases before, why would they have suddenly changed their tune after 1949? Further, these diseases continue to be epidemic in many parts of the world, including India. India started out at the same place as China in 1949, so it’s a useful comparison.
Population growth was controlled, hunger was solved for the first time in Chinese history, and the principal fatal infectious diseases were controlled, in contrast to India, Indonesia and South America, where hunger and infectious diseases are still catastrophic problems. By comparing China to South America, India and Indonesia we can clearly see how disastrously capitalism has fared in those places and how totally Maoism has kicked capitalism’s butt.
Starvation, poverty and illiteracy were wiped out. China was self-sufficient in food for the first time ever. For the first time ever. For the first time ever. Repeat that as many times as you want to until it sinks in. So much for the lie that “Communism brings nothing but starvation.”
The industrial growth rate was double that of India. Keep in mind that China’s and India’s industrial growth rates were about the same in 1949. In industrial growth, Maoism has left India in the dust.
In 1949, China had about the same number of scientists per capita as India. In the meantime, China under Mao and his successors has completely devastated India in the number of scientists per capita. Communist China made huge efforts to increase the number of scientists in society through incredible increases in the availability of education and offering free education to the masses who only had private education for the rich before.
India’s education system is a catastrophe, and the nation places zero emphasis on producing scientists or educated people of any nature. The public education system is disastrously underfunded, and most Indians can’t afford to go to school. The rich send their kids to private schools, but that’s not good for society, as it does not produce the number of highly skilled people that a society needs to develop.
It will take India 150 years to catch up with China in the number of scientists per capita.
Most Indian scientists leave the country; most Chinese scientists stay in China and serve the nation. As you can see, the Communists have cultivated a love of service and of nation in their scientists.
Indian scientists are essentially traitors with purely capitalist values. They spout Hindutva nonsense and the Indian ultranationalist fascist mantras of the day, but they have no love of nation. Their only value is money, and they quickly hop the first plane out of India to hightail it to the UK or the US to cash in on the big bucks, leaving their catastrophe of a nation in the lurch.
From their new perches in the West, they preach contempt for the Whites that enabled them to earn these fat wads of cash while dishonestly singing jingoist praises for the glorious Jai Hind, Bharat India that they so unceremoniously dumped.
Consumption of electricity in agriculture went from 20m kilowatts/hour to 6,000m. Grain production rose 4% a year,increased 2.5X since 1949 and was double that of India, though only 8% of the land is cultivated. This shows how Maoism even beat the Green Revolution in India.
I am not sure why agriculture has failed so badly in India, but semi-feudal relations in the countryside and lack of land reform must have something to do with it. As long as India is under capitalist rule, there will never be the necessary land reform that this suffering land needs, as the feudal lords have always owned the Indian state and always will until revolution sweeps them away.
Many or most Indian farmers are actually sharecroppers in perpetual debt slavery to large semi-feudal landlords. Until this system is eliminated, India will never develop into a real nation.
Production of chemical fertilizers increased 32X, steel 4.2X, oil 63X. Those figures are amazing. Fertilizer increased by 32 times! Oil increased by 63 times! Wow.
Why was this inevitable? If it was inevitable, why had capitalist China so failed to develop these essential industries before 1949? Easy. Because capitalist China, ruled by feudal lords, placed absolutely zero emphasis on the development of a national economy. The feudal lords of capitalist China cared only about increasing their own wealth,the nation be damned. Today we see the same thing in Latin America and the same underdevelopment that results. Some people never learn.
One argument which makes no sense is that India already tried socialism, and it failed. But exactly what kind of socialism was that, anyway? It was a fake crony socialism with a small public sector in which almost all of the economy was in private hands, mostly in the hands of monopoly capital. There was no land reform in the countryside where semi-feudal relations continued to rule. Sure, the Communists have been running West Bengal for 20 years. Who on the Left thinks there is any kind of real socialism or Communism in West Bengal?
If China and India were practicing the exact same kind of system (they were not) then why was China creaming India every step of the way, year and year out, even all through the Mao era? Answer. Indian socialism wasn’t any good, and it hardly deserved to be called socialism.
There was nothing good about Indian “socialism.” It left 50% of the population malnourished, 200 million people living on the street, education and medical care ruined, few roads, few agricultural or irrigation projects, nothing. You call that socialism?
The state sector was and is tiny. The state sector in India, including local, state and national levels combined, is about 5-10% of the size of the US state, even under America’s eviscerated state with the current neoliberal regime. Can you imagine an America in which the state is 10-20 times smaller than it is today?
In India, for all intents and purposes, in most places, the state is nearly nonexistent. It’s always been that way, a tiny, corrupt, crony capitalist state, even during the Indian Socialism era. The Indian state is a neoliberal dream, with a minimal government and the ruined society that always flows from that.
Industry grew by 10% per year under Mao. Agricultural expansion also underwent rapid expansion. The supply of housing was dramatically expanded, educational facilities and health care underwent unbelievable expansion. Food was supplied to everyone, day care was provided to all working women, women were thoroughly liberated, and everyone was given a job. Does that sound like the same system as Indian socialism? Of course not. Indian socialism was not worthy of the name.
Looking at these figures with a clear eye, you can see why so many Indians are getting behind Maoism. True, Maoism has a spotty record, but compared to India, Communist China looks like paradise.