Xiaolu Wang (王小鲁) and Sidong Jiang (姜斯栋)

Chinese agriculture underwent a tortuous development process. Given relative scarcity in land, the trend of continued increases in grain output is currently close to its limit. Meanwhile, along with increasing income and diversifying demand, the agricultural sector needs to change its pattern of development from quantitative to qualitative. Farm size will increase moderately along with urbanization and labor migration, but capitalized large farms should not become the main pattern. Household farming plus cooperation suits China’s natural endowment and efficiency needs better.

中国农业过去经历了曲折的发展过程。目前在有限土地上推动粮食等传统农产品不断增产的农业道路已经临近极限,同时随着居民收入水平提高和需求变化,农业发展需要从数量满足向质量优化转型。伴随城市化进展和劳动力转移,农业会适度扩大经营规模,但资本化大农场不应成为农业的主流经营方式。农户家庭经营加合作的方式将更加适合中国的资源禀赋和总体效率要求。 (This article is in Chinese.)

Changquan Jiao (焦长权) and Yingjiao Chen (陈莹骄)

With the acceleration of the urbanization process and the transformation of the population structure, China’s small peasant economy is breaking away from involutionary growth. At the same time, capital investment in family farms is increasing, leading to the capitalization of family farms and the rise of “new agriculture.” Based on a case study of tobacco growers in a Chinese township, this article demonstrates how capital investment contributes to specialization and scale production in tobacco production and how a capitalized family farm operates, depending mainly on family labor and partly on rented land. As a typical new agriculture, tobacco production achieves the dual intensification of both capital and labor and manages to get out from the involution trap. This article argues that the capitalized family farm is not only a new type of economic subject but that it also shapes a new type of social subject. As the “new peasant,” the holder of a capitalized family farm is a member of a social elite in villages and serves as the crucial social force in the transformation of village society.

伴随城市化的快速发展和农村人口结构的转型,中国的小农经济正逐渐摆脱“过密化”陷阱。同时,农业生产中的资本投入日益增长,家庭农场日益“资本化”,“新农业”获得了空前的发展。文章以中国恩施地区烟叶生产为例,阐述了资本投入对烟叶专业化、规模化生产的关键作用,分析了资本化家庭农场的经营方式:其主要依赖家庭劳动力(少部分季节性雇佣劳动力),并通过土地流转实现适度规模经营。烟叶生产是一种典型的“新农业”,它在家庭农场中实现了资本和劳动的“双密集”,摆脱了“过密化”陷阱。作者认为,资本化的家庭农场不仅形成了一种“新农业”(新型经济主体),更塑造了一群“新农民”(新型社会主体),他们是村庄中的精英群体,对村庄社会转型具有重要意义。 (This article is in English.)

Yuan Gao (高原)

In the 1950s, Chinese agriculture received far too few modern inputs from industry, but in the 1960s–1970s, this situation was significantly improved. The chemical fertilizer industry, crucial for enhancing crop yields, saw substantial development in the later period. More chemical fertilizer was used in agricultural production, and the price of chemical fertilizer relative to agricultural products was falling. The institutional framework in rural China, which underwent frequent changes in the 1950s, was stabilized in the 1960s and 1970s with the consolidation of the three-tiered commune-brigade-team structure and the establishment of the production team as the basic managerial unit. This stabilized framework remained in place until the implementation of the household responsibility system in the early 1980s. Agricultural development in the 1960s–1970s laid the necessary material foundation for the 1979–1984 Rural Reform. Revisiting this history can help us to rethink the interrelationship between institutional change and material factors in a developing economy.

在1950年代,中国农业从工业部门得到的现代化要素为数甚少,而在60–70年代,这一状况则得到显著改善。尤其是对农业增产至关重要的化肥工业,在后一阶段有了长足发展;农业生产的化肥施用量有明显的提升;同时化肥和农产品之间的比价则在持续下降。在1950年代变动频繁的农村经营制度,在1960–70年代则以“三级所有、队为基础”为核心稳定下来,直到家庭承包制实施。1960–70年代的农业发展为1979–1984年的农村改革提供了不可或缺的物质基础。检视这段历史有助于我们重新思考经济系统中制度变迁与物质基础之间的关系。 (This article is in English.)

Xiaolin Pei (裴小林)

To remind China’s policy makers that seemingly correct theories in the West can become harmful in China, this article builds a dynamic land-use model, where the limit to land productivity causes the physical, economic, and institutional systems of land use to change inversely in the stages before, in, and after the population trap. The article uses historical data to test the inverse changes, and finds that the English agricultural revolution was a result of a shift of land use first from intensive to extensive and then back to intensive cultivation. In the process of returning to intensive cultivation, the Norfolk rotation system combined planting with livestock husbandry and raised agricultural output and labor productivity by increasing the number of draft animals and the acreage devoted to forage crops. But the revolution was possible precisely because land productivity was much lower in England than in China.

为提醒中国的政策制定者在西方似乎正确的理论在中国可能变得有害,本文建立了一个动态土地使用模型,在其中土地生产率极限使土地使用的物质、经济和制度系统在人口陷阱之前、之中和之后的三个不同发展阶段反向地变化。本文用历史数据检验了这些反向变化,发现英格兰的农业革命是土地使用从集约向粗放倒退然后再返回集约化的结果。在返回集约化的过程中,诺福克轮作制使种植业和畜牧业结合,通过大幅增加饲料作物和耕畜数量提高了农业总产值和劳动生产率。但这一革命能出现正是因为英格兰的土地生产率比中国低得多。 (This article is in English.)

Gang Lin (林刚)

Since its early history, due to the various constraints in exchanging with other civilizations, China has relied mainly on domestic resources to satisfy the needs of its population for consumption and employment and to solve the challenges that confronted the state. Central to this solution is the combination of the agriculture of the peasant family with traditional industry and sidelines, a process that evolved over thousands of years of persistent experiments, in which the biggest challenge lay in the constant tension between population growth and the constraint of resources on the satisfaction of subsistence needs. The advent of Western influences in the late Qing period made available the products of mass-manufacturing by machines to Chinese peasants as raw materials of the family-based industry and sidelines, hence the addition of a new factor to the preexisting pattern of resource allocation. What emerged in modern China thus was an unprecedented “modern tripartite structure” that encompassed the new-style family economy, modern industrial economy, and traditional rural economy. Nevertheless, the loss of the country’s sovereign rights and the recurrence of war impeded the transformation of the traditional mode of production that entailed the intervention of the state; the same factors also explain the failure of spontaneous non-governmental forces in developing a national economy in which industry and agriculture grew in full coordination with each other.

由于国际交流环境的不利,中国自早期文明伊始,就只能主要依靠在领土范围内解决吃饭和就业等国计民生首要问题。这是靠小农家庭农业与工副业的结合,在数千年的不懈奋斗中完成的。农民家庭经济的最大问题是人口增加与谋生资源难以满足之间的压力。清末列强入侵后,农民紧紧抓住大机器产品作为家庭工副业的生产原料,为改进原有的资源配置增加了新因素。近代中国史无前例地出现了新式家庭经济、现代工业经济与传统农村经济的“近代三元结构”。但由于丧失国权、战乱频仍,需要国家之力介入的旧生产方式变革、工业与农业全方位协调发展的国民经济格局,未能由民间自发力量完成。(This article is in Chinese.)

Haijuan Wang (王海娟) and Xuefeng He (贺雪峰)

Past studies have discussed the “socialist” nature of agricultural development in China in terms of equality in distribution since the introduction of the Household Responsibility System (hrs) and its institutional necessities. This article instead addresses the issue of the modernization of the peasant economy by exploring the various practices in agricultural production that led to a socialist path since 1980. The peasant economy under the hrs takes the form of a dual-layer management, and the collective economy is under the unified management by the collective. The collective economy propels the modernization of the peasant economy by the means of integration of funding, integration of land rights, and land concentration, respectively, in response to the different phases in the development of the forces of production. What is emerging in China is the fourth path to agricultural modernization characteristic of China, after the existing three paths, namely capitalist agriculture of large private farms, socialist agriculture of large collective farms, and the capitalist agriculture of small family farms. This new path, or socialist agriculture of small family farms, is characterized by the enlargement of the management unit on the basis of the collective economy that overcomes the constraints of the peasant economy. However, while institutional possibilities do exist for a socialist path in agricultural development in China, the policies pursued by the Chinese government are turning Chinese agriculture into capitalist agriculture of small family farms.

学界从均等分配角度揭示了家庭承包经营制后农业发展的“社会主义”性质及其制度合理性,本文尝试从农业生产角度揭示1980年以来中国社会主义道路实践,探究小农经济现代化问题。家庭承包经营制改革后的小农经济采取双层经营体制,集体经济以集体统一经营的方式存在。在不同生产力阶段,集体经济分别以资金整合、地权整合和土地集中的方式,促进小农经济现代化。从集体经济扩大农业经营单位,克服小农经济局限性的角度,中国在资本主式私人大农场农业、社会主义式集体大农场农业、资本主义式小农家庭农业之外,探索出具有中国特色的第四种农业现代化道路,即社会主义式小农家庭农业。中国农业发展有走向社会主义道路的制度空间,但中国政府的政策选择使得中国农业发展正在走向资本主义式小农家庭农业。(This article is in Chinese.)

Aimin Guo (郭爱民)

Correlative data from China, Japan, the United States, and South Korea show that since 1950, if the percentage of grain imported into a country is low, the growth of agricultural labor productivity is relatively high, which is the precondition for the separation (or further separation) between the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors. In China, agricultural labor productivity was low before the mid-1980s, a factor that contributed to rural poverty. Since the mid-1990s, however, the diet of the people of China has included a greater quantity of meat, eggs, and milk. At the same time, there has been a shortage of feed grain and the percentage of imported grain has begun to grow rapidly. If the proportion of imported grain continues to grow, the efficiency illusion that took place in Japan and South Korea will be repeated in China in the near future. Currently, China’s agriculture is faced with a series of imminent tasks that include promoting agricultural science and technology, accelerating the substitution of feed grains, and making sure that there will be no further loss of arable land.

20世纪中后期以来,中日美韩四国的数据表明,在粮食进口比重不大的情况下,农业劳动生产效率的大幅度提高是农业和非农产业分工(或分工进一步加强)的基础条件。在中国,1980年代中期之前,由于农业劳动生产效率较低,出现了长期的温饱问题和知青下乡问题。1990年代中期以来,在人们的饮食构成中,肉蛋奶数量趋高,饲料粮出现短缺,粮食进口比重快速增长。按照目前的趋势,如果粮食进口比重继续增长,在日韩出现的“效率假象”,将会在中国上演。进一步提高农业科技水平,加快饲料粮的替代,同时,确保18亿亩土地红线不被侵蚀,是中国农业面临的迫切任务。 (This article is in English.)

Tuan Yang (杨团)

This paper combs through more than 30 years of the rural collective economic system reforms and distinguishes the conceptual differences among the People's Communes collective, the joint stock cooperative collective, and the community cooperative collective, and among the cooperative economy, the collective economy, the shareholding economy, and the community economy. This paper argues that it is not suitable to simply and rashly push forward the practice of China’s most developed areas’ rural collective economy property rights system to the whole country.

Taking the Puhan model and Jindian model as examples, this paper shows that by absorbing the experiences of the East Asian farmers’ integrated cooperatives, their experiences in local community development, and also the comprehensive rural cooperative organizations in mainland China, there exists a third possible way to bring forth the vitality of village communities and generate healthy and sustainable rural development, in preference to the old rural collective Commune system and the corporate or joint stock co-op models.

本文梳理了围绕农村集体经济制度改革的30余年历史,分辨了人民公社集体、股份合作制集体和社区合作集体;合作经济、集体经济、股份经济与社区(社群)经济的不同,提出不宜将适合发达地区的农村集体经济产权制度改革推向全国。本文以蒲韩和金店两地的农民组织为例说明,借鉴东亚综合农协经验和本土经验的社区性、综合性乡村合作组织,是在公社集体制和公司制或股份合作制之外,能激发村庄活力和形成经济社会良性循环的第三条路。 (This article is in Chinese.)

Philip C. C. Huang (黄宗智)

This article demonstrates how the “old agriculture” of grain production operates today mainly by an administrative model, while the “new agriculture” of high-value-added products (high-end vegetables, fruits, meat-poultry-fish, and eggs-milk) operates mainly by a laissez faire market model. The former serves to protect low-value agricultural products from violent market price swings and international competition to ensure China’s “grain security,” but is prone to a commandist approach that can disregard peasant interests and wishes. The latter has stimulated peasant initiatives through market incentives, but suffers from violent price fluctuations and merchant extractions. A third model, “specialty co-ops,” has thus far been guided by a mistaken model of trying to imitate U.S. co-ops, which are purely economic entities, to the disregard of Chinese village communities. This article urges the adoption of an “East Asian” model of semi-governmental, integrated co-ops based on peasant communities (villages), extending from there up through the governmental hierarchy of townships, counties, provinces, and the central levels. Such co-ops provide “vertical integration” (processing and marketing) services for small-peasant agricultural products, offer technical assistance, organize the purchase and supply of agricultural inputs, extend credit services, engage in community activities, and see to peasant social-political interests, as was done so successfully in Japan-Korea-Taiwan, most especially during the period when their per capita GDP and relative proportions of industry and agriculture stood at levels roughly comparable to China’s today.

本文论证,中国的“旧农业”——谷物生产——今天主要运作于一个行政模式之下,而“新农业”——高值蔬菜、水果、肉-禽-鱼和蛋奶——则主要运作于一个放任的市场模式之下。在国际市场竞争和粮食价格相对低廉的压力下,前者起到保护中国谷物生产和“粮食安全”的作用,但也显示倾向过度依赖指令性手段和无视农民意愿的弱点。后者则成功地凭借市场收益激发了小农的创新性,但经常受到市场价格波动的冲击以及商业资本的榨取。作为第三种模式的“专业合作社”,则主要试图模仿美国的纯经济性合作社模式,无视中国村庄,不符合中国实际。本文提倡,中国应该模仿“东亚”模式的半政府性综合农协,扎根于村庄社区、由此往上延伸到乡-镇、县、省、中央各级政府。它们主要为小农提供“纵向一体化”的产品加工和销售服务、技术咨询与服务、信贷服务、组织农资供销、组织社区活动、并参与国家政治来维护小农利益,一如日-韩-台历史经验中,在其人均gdp以及工农业所占相对比例大致相当于如今中国的那段时期。 (This article is in English.)