It was worth noting, that Marx’s Socialist Theory emphasized almost the exact opposite of Stalin, and later Mao’s ideals, in which these two leaders thought it imperative that production in industrial sectors take priority over consumption (Lu, Duanfang, 2006, p. 82).
It’s not surprising that these leaders came in wanting to ensure that their respective nations maintained world power through the production of armaments and other exportables. However, in doing so, they ended up with stockpiles of consumables that eventually became useless, and a mass of people left living in very poor conditions, with little food, scant housing, and perpetual illness.
The Chinese idea of making Shanghai out to be a “parasitic city” (p.82) led to campaign of paraphernalia in which the capital city, Beijing, began to be depicted as the city to be modeled after. In some ways, this was true. The new living communities, as depicted in photos next to crumbling nearby suburbs (p. 86) seem clearly superior. The population of Beijing tripled, while production skyrocketed. Sadly though, as housing was considered a consumable rather than productive, housing, schools, and hospitals, along with places of leisure, too a back seat, causing people, including children, to walk miles in order to learn the skills they needed to work, which doesn’t seem very productive at all. The changing role of women from raising a family to becoming part of the labor force forced the need for more childcare (p. 89). As these facilities were not approved by the government, work units were forced to go around the approval of the state to “illegally” build these facilities on their own.
So, overall, while these governments were able to maintain over-production quotas, they left behind their people, the very people who they (hopefully) sought to give a better life to. Instead of an equality in which everyone was taken care of properly, there became a reality of equality in which people were treated inhumanely, almost robotically. The end result was discontented people which led to the fall of Russian Communism, and a Communist government in China that has struggled for the last twenty years to find a balance between socialist and capitalist values.
Lu, Duanfang. Remaking Chinese Urban Form : Modernity, Scarcity and Space, 1949-2005.
Florence, KY, USA: Routledge, 2006. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 20 July 2015