China: Revolution Down on the Farm

Incomes grow as free enterprise replaces the communes

"Eating out of one big pot" was the way the Peking leadership once described China 's vast system of collectivized agriculture, in which peasants, grouped together in 52,000 sprawling communes, had to share their earnings more or less equally. In the past three years Peking has taken a great leap sideways from the collective idea. Applying what it calls the "responsibility system, " the government is returning much of the country's farming to individual households. The new system is gradually changing the lives of China's 800 million rural residents. The report of...

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