- Household-responsibility system
Responsibility system (contract responsibility system or household responsibility system) (simplified Chinese: 家庭联产承包责任制; traditional Chinese: 家庭聯產承包責任制; pinyin: Jiātíng liánchǎn chéngbāo zérènzhì) was a practice in the People's Republic of China, first adopted in agriculture in 1981 and later extended to other sectors of the economy, by which local managers are held responsible for the profits and losses of the enterprise. This system partially supplanted the egalitarian distribution method, whereby the state assumed all profits and losses.
In traditional Maoist organization of the rural economy, and that of other collectivised programs, farmers are given a quota of goods to produce. They were compensated for meeting the quota. Going beyond the quota rarely produced a sizeable economic reward. In the early 1980s peasants were given drastically reduced quotas. What food they grew beyond the quota was sold in free market at unregulated prices. This was an instant success, quickly causing one of the largest increases in standard of living for such a large number of people in such a short time. This system maintained quotas, and thus, the element of socialist societies termed in China, the Iron rice bowl (in which food and employment was ensured by the state).
Politicians did not initiate the household-responsibility system: local villagers developed it as an experiment later applied nationwide.
Allocating farmlands to individuals or to families rated as a crime during the Mao era in China, but the low-level productivity under collective farming and drought forced villagers of Xiaogang, Fengyang to do so in 1978. They implemented this system secretly, and signed a contract, "if any one of us is put to prison as a result, others shall be responsible for taking care of his children until they reach 18 years of age".
The secret experiment proved very successful. In 1979 similar experiments began in Sichuan and Anhui provinces, both seeing dramatic increases in agricultural productivity. Deng Xiaoping openly praised these experiments in 1980, and the system has been adopted nationwide since 1981.
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