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JSPES, Vol. 43, No. 3-4 (Fall-Winter 2018)
pp. 205-245

China as a World Leader in Agricultural Production in 1978: Rethinking the Bottom Line of Chinese Reforms 

Ketevan Rostiashvili
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia

Chinaís agricultural sector in 1978 has generally been seen as a poor and weak segment of the nationís economy, although recognized for some achievements. This paper argues, however, that at that time China was not only the fifth largest world economy, but also a world leader in the production of primary agricultural goods: grain, wheat, corn, rice, carry-over stocks of cereals, meat, aquatic products, sugar and cotton. China came close to or out produced not only India and Brazil, but even the U.S.A, the USSR, and Japan. This article analyzes some fundamental drawbacks of the Chinese regime: its economic structure, per capita agricultural production, efficiency of the agricultural labor force, efficiency of governmental agricultural expenditures, farm machinery scale, export/import potential, and a per capita GNP, which provoked, along with other causes, future comprehensive reforms of the country. It predominantly uses materials drawn from the US, China, the USSR, the UN, and the World Bankís official statistics, as well as other useful sources.