Re: Great Leap Forward texts?

From "Walt Byars" <>
Date Fri, 2 Mar 2007 08:24:51 -0800
Cc "Brian Turner" <>,
Dkim-signature a=rsa-sha1; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=beta; h=domainkey-signature:received:received:message-id:date:from:to:subject:cc:in-reply-to:mime-version:content-type:content-transfer-encoding:content-disposition:references; b=XxZMqU53EeHrw7gRyoiW7G/DTki0tzAfJjv1NAb/AkUNqlqPuEEqoHzFkXt/eviIFi57FfvhmNifrIU9jKqIQfInhBxdc6ouwfek95S5M5BSAmmBUhkUtY9m6N0vnFppScKppH+/n2OAG4qVdZriPpPJVfsTAccjSRv1Upvzkzw=
Domainkey-signature a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws;; s=beta; h=received:message-id:date:from:to:subject:cc:in-reply-to:mime-version:content-type:content-transfer-encoding:content-disposition:references; b=L0wR1cQWt4MaGqJpegyxUMnxor+hoHb+ZQGub17LAqfggBYjfYZWJ/uEtuxLXNIfIh+/DPuUqN5xzYwmZuXKtq+ph/tfV2qtP/0l71c3nhUZ3pu9vNXP4zJXgfK89KIOdw7L67gWoUparSt2pWUC4CJpoWivuPty0SdJ2wghaKw=
In-reply-to <>
References <> <>

I am not sure if this will be sent to the whole list or just Brian and
Daniel. I'm not sure how to use it.

I've seen Patnaik make this argument a few times. There was a whole
article in the Indian magazine Frontline about it which I can't find
right now. And also part of this article is dedicated to it.

Her argument seems to make little sense. It seems to depend on the
idea that those GLF figures are just calculated from comparing the
actual total population with what would have been expected, to which a
valid point would indeed be that this would include both deaths by
famine as well as the decrease in births caused by it. But, aren't
Banister's numbers as well as most scholars based on death rates? I
don't see how the criticism would apply.

On 3/1/07, Daniel Frederick Vukovich <> wrote:

Three cheers for the work of Chris Bramall, no question.  But you are either
talking about a different Patnaik or different article.  There was something
that circulated on this list (ten years ago?) from her, written for a CPI-M
newspaper.  That is a different thing altogether.

You say you havent seen any critiques of Bannister's figures but that is what
the Patnaik article from 2002 (I think?) precisely does-- it is the subject of
the piece. And there are no GLF vital stats I'm aware of.  The previous census
was what '55 or '57 latest?  And even Riskin uses those.  So we must not be
talking about the same thing. And for the record, you dont do well to trash
talk Patnaik or any of the JNU/Frontline/Samat people for that matter.  Good

Anyway I'm not interested in throwing random data and accusations around.  I'll
try and get that article scanned and posted at CSG, after promising JJ to do
just that years ago.

cheers, Dan

Daniel F. Vukovich Assistant Professor Comparative Literature, School of Humanities 208 Main Bldg. The University of Hong Kong (852) 2859 7934

Quoting Brian Turner <>:

> --- Daniel Frederick Vukovich <>
> wrote:
> > The best piece that I know of is by Utsa Patnaik...
> Her GLF commentaries suffer from the glaring and
> foolish error of taking PRC vital stats from the GLF
> period at face value when every China focusing
> demographer knows stats from that period severely
> understate deaths.  While the general point that
> Indian poverty was much more deadly over the long run
> than Maoism is valid, I see no reason go to her work
> when British economist Chris Bramall makes more or
> less the same argument, but is much more knowledgable
> about the stats and the proper way to intepret them.
> I particularly have in mind his excellent chapter on
> the GLF in his book _In Praise of Maoist Economic
> Planning_ (1993) Oxford Univ. Press, but it was
> mentioned in other articles of his as well, and maybe
> his more recent book focusing heavily on the Mao era
> roots of reform era growth too, not sure.
> I also believe it's very unfair to say Judith Banister
> "abused" the famine figures.  Her figures have been
> abused by others, but never by her as far as I know.
> For example, you'll never find "30 million starved to
> death" in any of her writings, that's Jasper Becker,
> Jung Chang et al's spin.  And it is Banister's work
> that provides credible figures supporting Bramall's
> arguments about huge numbers of saved lives via social
> welfare achievements in other years. I also know of no
> abuse of figures by Coale either, though can't say for
> sure in his case.
> Lastly, there is no reason to refer to Banister's
> figures as "inflated" as there has been no critiques
> of her methods or results as far as I know, and micro
> evidence from village studies, as well as Bramall's
> extensive analysis of Sichuan (worst famine province)
> support her figures.  It's the misuse of her sensible
> research (_China's Changing Population_ 1987) that is
> the problem, and the deliberate obfuscation of long
> term hunger vital stat trends in favor of exclusive
> focus on the famine.
> To Alex:
> Besides the aforementiond Chris Bramall chapter, on
> the causes of the famine, the best articles I know of
> are:
> Bernstein, Thomas (1984)  "Stalinism and Chinese
> Peasants:  Grain Procurement During the Great Leap
> Forward", Theory and Society.  May 3
> Bernstein, Thomas (2006) "Mao Zedong and the Famine of
> 1959-60: A Study in Wilfulness", China Quarterly. No.
> 186, June.
> An, Mark Yuying, Wei Li, Dennis Tao Yang (2001) "Great
> Leap Forward or Backward?  Anatomy of a Central
> Planning Disaster" Journal of Economic Literature.
> March.
> ----
> For what was happening at the micro level, only one
> person has tried in book form -- Jasper Becker
> (_Hungry Ghosts_) -- but his book is rubbish because
> he used self-selected interviews, thus he was
> guaranteed to hear only the worst horror stories plus
> some ax grinders surely.  This is what he was after,
> so for him it was no problem.
> So, for now the village studies, some 2 dozen by now,
> will have to suffice.  For example, Han Dongping's
> book mentions what happened during the famine in
> Shandong, a hard hit province, and more details appear
> in his unpublished paper on the absence of rural
> democracy during the GLF and its presence (in
> Shandong) during the CR.
> We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
> (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.