Fearful Sophistry: Mao and His Exaggerated Desires

We think everyone has read and heard a lot about revolutions. In general, revolutions are full of heroic songs that are proudly mentioned and that the nation proudly sings. Unfortunately, not every revolution is successful, and a significant portion of these attempted revolutions end in failure. It is also normal that successful examples are many times less than unsuccessful ones. Isn’t that what makes the victory glorious?

The Great Leap Begins

Failed revolutions are many, but the most famous of them is undoubtedly China’s ex-president Mao Zedong, who took it to the bottom while trying to glorify his own country. Mao Zedong was a relatively idealistic patriot. Beginning in 1958, he decided to involve his country in an economic plan he called the Great Leap Forward”. The main purpose of this economic revolution was to turn China into an economic superpower. The vision and mission of this economic revolution were to finance its own needs by using surplus agricultural products, reducing its dependence on foreign countries to zero, and selling its own goods abroad.

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Scary Lies

Moreover, Mao’s goal was not impossible to achieve. The problem is that Mao ordered agricultural output to be nearly tripled. As you can appreciate, this target was quite difficult even for China, where the workforce is high. The growth target as a mission and vision was visibly on track to failure with the desired superhuman expectation. Mao’s harsh orders reached all the chiefs down in the villages, and in the country, which operated with a hierarchy system, everyone was obliged to report to a superior.

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Local rulers were afraid to oppose orders they knew came from the top, and they were also just as nervous about delivering bad news. Therefore, they found the solution to lie to their superiors. If they produced 1, they said 3. Hearing 3, the local manager reported 6 to his superior. Everyone enlarged the figure they heard and sold it to someone above it. So the data presented by everyone became exaggerated, and the figure that eventually went to President Mao was much more than the truth itself, as you can imagine. Believing these reports, Mao planned to distribute rice and agricultural products as much as he believed would feed the Chinese people, and sold the remaining agricultural products to foreign countries in exchange for weapons and construction equipment.


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And Result…

Of course, China, which made a distribution plan over the percentage amount, could not allocate enough agricultural products to its people, and the most terrible famine disaster in history occurred, and therefore millions of Chinese died due to hunger and famine.

The reason behind the failure of this failed revolution was false reports. We have come to a situation where pieces of paper rule our lives and, as you can see, this administration can be easily exploited and false information can be sold to us. So much so that when Mao announced his plans to the world and announced the positive reports that came to him until he faced the real famine, many countries were affected by it and other countries tried it as well. For example, Tanzania was also affected by China’s plan at the same time and established collective farms just like China, but they did not get the results they wanted from this plan, just like China. Maybe there was no famine in Tanzania, but just because the people of Tanzania did not lie does not change the fact that this project ended in disappointment and the investment was wasted. Today, many lies can be presented as if they were true using pieces of paper. For the same reason, don’t we call the internet a fake information slot? People have become able to sell “information” with 1-2 false statements. Of course, a question eventually comes into play: “Is there such a thing as correct information?”

References and Further Reading

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (nd). Great Leap Forward Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Great-Leap-Forward.

Harari, YN (nd). Homo Deus .

Ltd, A. A. (2021, August 12). Economic policies of Mao Zedong. UK Essays. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/economic-policies-of-mao-zedong-history-essay.php.

Images not cited are used through Canva Pro with a royalty payment.

The proofreading has been done by Asu Pelin Akköse and Mete Esencan.

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Tufan Özdemir

Hello there! I'm Tufan Özdemir. I am a philosophy student at METU. Philosophy has been a big part of my life and my life. For this reason, most of my articles on this site are on philosophy.

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