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The Development of Social Welfare Programs in the Yudahua Business Group, 1921–1957

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By tracing the development of social welfare systems in the six cotton mills of the Yudahua Business Group from the 1920s to the 1950s, this paper argues that some private firms experienced unprecedented wartime expansion of workers’ welfare programs. The social welfare system that was thus taking form continued during the early 1950s, but progress slowed as compared to the wartime advances. The slowness in development was largely due to the enforcement of a state policy that prioritized production requirements and class conciliation programs, thus discouraging the rapid improvements of earlier decades. State efforts to prioritize heavy industries over light industries and to standardize wages and welfare throughout the same industry within a local economy also forced some industrial workers to make sacrifices in salary and benefits.


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