China's Communes

D. D. Kosambi
1959 Monthly review  
That an event of profound historical importance has taken place in China is clear from the violent outburst of hostile comment and the stunned silence of those who should have evaluated these new happenings. The Chinese themselves are too busy with the exhilarating work of a second revolutionary advance within ten years; the powerful swimmer engaged in breasting the flood need not pause to chart the river for others. So, let us analyze the situation for ourselves. The Basic Facts These are
more » ... acts These are unquestioned. The commune consists of a merger of many individual cooperatives. The area crosses several former county ( hsien) boundaries, according to the nature of the terrain. Twenty thousand or more people might be members of a single commune. The production is not specialized, but on the contrary covers cerealproducing fields, cotton plantations, orchards, whole mountainsides for pasturage. Even beyond this purely agrarian variety, the commune may (and does) engage in direct industrial activity such as producing iron and steel, building their own hydro-electric stations, manufacture of ceramics, cloth, etc. Children's creches, hospitals, schools, even new types of work-and-learn colleges, are managed by the communes themselves. Food is served in communal canteens as both husband and wife work. The meals are free or at a nominal cost, and far better in quantity and quality than ever before. The commune may vote to supply labor for short periods to construction projects, industries, or mines outside their area, quite apart from workers specially deputed for such training. Overall employment is so full that there is now a shortage of personnel. The people concerned are supplied by the commune and their earnings added to the commune's funds. The communes are highly solvent. The sudden leap ahead in production is not to be denied. Even those newspapermen abroad who live by discounting such statistics are flummoxed. That this is a permanent gain, not due just to a D. D. K osambi is an Indian scientist who has been in China frequently in the last few years and keeps in close touch with developments there.
doi:10.14452/mr-010-11-1959-03_2 fatcat:dmsnnyme5fbgrllpibcjkxtxby