Obama Jobs Council Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

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    Mao launches the second Five-Year Plan

    Jan 1958 - 1962

    January 1958, Mao launched the second Five-Year Plan known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended as an alternative model for economic growth to the Soviet model focusing on heavy industry that was advocated by others in the party.

    Under this economic program, the relatively small agricultural collectives which had been formed to date were rapidly merged into far larger people’s communes, and many of the peasants ordered to work on massive infrastructure projects and the small-scale production of iron and steel. All private food production was banned; livestock and farm implements were brought under collective ownership.


    Under the Great Leap Forward, Mao and other party leaders ordered the implementation of a variety of unproven and unscientific new agricultural techniques by the new communes.

    Combined with the diversion of labour to steel production and infrastructure projects and the reduced personal incentives under a commune system this led to an approximately 15% drop in grain production in 1959 followed by further 10% reduction in 1960 and no recovery in 1961.

    In an effort to win favour with their superiors and avoid being purged, each layer in the party hierarchy exaggerated the amount of grain produced under them and based on the fabricated success, party cadres were ordered to requisition a disproportionately high amount of the true harvest for state use primarily in the cities and urban areas but also for export.

    The net result, which was compounded in some areas by drought and in others by floods, was that the rural peasants were not left enough to eat and many millions starved to death in what is thought to be the largest famine in human history.

    This famine was a direct cause of the death of tens of millions of Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962. Further, many children who became emaciated and malnourished during years of hardship and struggle for survival, died shortly after the Great Leap Forward came to an end in 1962.

    http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=46831
     

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