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“Whither Chinese Agriculture?”: An Introduction (“中国农业往哪里去?”——导论)

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This article attempts to provide a broad overview response to the question: Whence and whither Chinese agriculture? The point of departure is a summary and discussion of the ten articles of this symposium, five empirical and theoretical discussions from economic historians, two from scholars doing solid and illuminating research on the “new agriculture,” and finally three that explore the issue of what road Chinese agriculture should adopt for the future. The article places the agricultural and rural history of the People’s Republic into the broad perspective of changes since the eighteenth century. It distinguishes between cooperativization, collectivization, and the people’s communes, and between the open-field “old” grain agriculture and the high-value-added “new agriculture.” It examines the differences between the New World’s “lots of land and few people” and the East Asian “lots of people and little land” agricultures, and the former’s land-and-capital-dual-intensifying and the latter’s labor-and-capital-dual-intensifying paths of modern change. From that perspective, it examines the successes and failures of the people’s communes vs. cooperativization–collectivization, of dragon-head enterprises vs. small peasants, and of the American specialty co-ops vs. the East Asian integrated co-ops.本文试图对中国的农业从哪里来、到哪里去的问题做一个总体性的讨论。文章从对本专辑的十篇论文的总结和讨论出发。首先是五篇经验和理论探索的经济史论文,而后是两篇扎实和充满阐释性的关于近三十多年来兴起的“新农业”的研究,最后是三篇关于当前的农业与农村发展道路的探索。文章从18世纪以来的社会经济史视角来检视人民共和国农业发展的历史,区别合作化、集体化、人民公社化,以及“旧”大田(谷物)农业与高附加值“新农业”。文章论述地多人少的“新大陆”农业与人多地少的东亚农业,区别前者的土地与资本双密集化和后者的劳动与资本双密集化的不同现代演变道路,据此来检视人民公社VS. 合作化-集体化,“龙头企业”VS.小农经济,以及美国“专业合作社”VS. 东亚综合农协模式的得失。 (This article is in English.)

Affiliations: 1: Law School, Renmin University of China History, University of California, Los Angeles,


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