Flourishing Collectives

At first glance, Fenghuang is still a backward village. Peasants pull two- wheeled harnessed carts along the roads, and sewage remains the primary fertilizer. Beneath that superficial impression, however, the lives of the 865 people of Fenghuang and of their neighbors in Sichuan province have been revolutionized. Where just six years ago most of the villagers were rice growers, today nearly 80% of Fenghuang's work force is no longer engaged in farming. Some peasants mix fodder, some produce soft drinks, some refine edible oil. Many of them work in a small distillery, brewing a potent rice liquor called feifeng daqu (flying...

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