Paul Roderick Gregory: China’s Flawed Case For One-Party Rule
Despite Kuhn’s claim to the contrary, the CPC has made and is making a number of serious mistakes:
First, the CPC’s most disastrous policy blunder has been its one-child policy, introduced in 1979 and continued throughout the reform era. The one-child policy has clashed with the wishes of the Chinese people. It has been enforced by an intrusive neighborhood surveillance network and by brutal forced abortions, even in late term. In addition to traumatizing many Chinese families, the one-child policy has left China with an aging population and a shrinking labor force. Many Chinese men do not have the opportunity to marry and have children as a consequence of the skewed male-female balance.
Second, the CPC’s current policy of “the state advances, the private sector retreats” strikes at the heart of Chinese growth, which is private enterprise. “State advances, private sector retreats” disadvantages private enterprise in a number of ways and lavishes credit, subsidies and favorable regulations on state-owned enterprises. But it is private enterprises that produce high rates of return despite their many disadvantages. State-owned enterprises earn low or even negative rates of return on bank credit, credit allocated according to political connections. “State advances, private sector retreats,” if seriously implemented, will kill the goose that lays the golden egg of rapid Chinese growth.
Third, the first Chinese reforms were not instituted by the CPC. In fact, during the early stages of decollectivization and creating private trade, the CPC actively opposed reform. In a surprising admission, Kuhn himself admits that reform “has often begun at the grassroots levels and put into ‘gray” practice’, and “it was only after the reform had been working did the CPC leadership recognize the reform’s success and make it official policy.” So the very reform that Kuhn credits to wise CPC leaders emerged from grassroots economic democracy and was opposed until the CPC leadership reluctantly recognized its value.