Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mao's great famine by Frank Dikotter


I sort of had in the back of my mind that China had a famine during Mao's rule. But I never realised its severity. Or that's its causes where predominately due to the ineptitude of central planning of a communist system and the inherent corruption.

An estimated 45 million died during this period where Mao tried to implement communes, and push iron production to the down fall of the country. The book outlines the ineptitude of leaders. The inflation of quotes, the environment degregation as Mao insisted birds killed which stole seeds which then brought about plagues of insects. The hunger of people who ate mud and and when desperate enough went to canibilism. Horrid.

The book reiterated to me that central planning doesn't work.

It also had me thinking about tyrants. Stalin, Hitler and now Mao. I suppose all leaders especially these bad guys got fed a diet of what they want to hear. But it would seem to me that Mao's people feed him an even larger amount of lies than was actually happening. I don't think it was an excuse though.

It also gave me an insight into China today. I'm pretty sure the corruption still happens. It would have to be the case with a closed and censored media. China is still a place to watch with scepticism. This stuff only happened on 50 years ago.

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