Lessons from Chinese development experience since 1978

As readers may have noticed I have especially since 2011 focused orally in my broadcast on radio munansi and in writing on providing information to reorient NRM’s failed politics and economics. On economic matters, I have drawn on economic successful experiences including of South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Germany. Now I focus on the economic success story of China since 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping and since his passing. The struggle between radicals led by Moo’s widow – Jiang Qing or the ‘gang of four’ and the moderates led by Deng ended in the defeat of the radicals.

Deng was a veteran party leader who had distanced himself from Mao’s failed economic policies. He was accused of being a capitalist, purged and humiliated several times. With the radicals out of the way Deng sold his new and transformative program to the party. He de-emphasized Marxism ideology and class struggle and focused on economic growth with modernization. He de-emphasized central planning and ended collectivized agriculture. He encouraged private business, competition and production for profit. Regarding public enterprises he demanded they become profitable and accountable for their commissions and omissions. Like in the case of West Germany’s social market economy, China’s economy was a mixture of public and market economy. As noted already collectivized farming was ended and individual farming encouraged. Western technology and management and private financial flows welcomed. Industrial production focused on consumer products such as bicycles and motor cycles.

Significant effort was devoted to the countryside where farmers produced for household consumption and sold surplus in the domestic and external markets. Small and medium enterprises that create most jobs and contribute significantly to economic growth flourished. Ipso facto, Gross Domestic Product hardly above three percent during Mao’s period rose to ten percent on average for decades. Public works reduced temporary unemployment. Although public enterprises constitute a major share of the economy, the growing private sector especially in the coastal areas represents the most dynamic part of the economy. These measures that were continued after Deng’s passing have lifted Chinese economy to second place in the World.

Deng’s focus on a mixed economy and countryside and not strictly following the advice of Washington Consensus helped to transform the Chinese economy and society but this has been achieved at the expense of environmental pollution a deficit the authorities have recognized and are addressing.

As Uganda prepares for a transitional government, potential leaders and their advisers need to look at experiences of successful economies that I have summarized and posted on this page as well as on www.kashambuzi.com and see what can be extracted and developed into a Uganda specific development blue print. In doing so it is also advisable to get familiar with the National Recovery Plan written by UDU and available at www.udugandans.org.