Du Runsheng, world’s most influential yet ignored economist?

Not even heard of the name. Apparently he was the main economic thought behind China’s 1978 rural transformation.

Here is a story..

Last week, Du Runsheng passed away at the ripe old age of 102. The death of the “father of rural reform” was widely covered in China and Hong Kong, as Du’s proteges include such Chinese economic luminaries as Zhou Qiren and Justin Yifu Lin, not to mention Wang Qishan, who is now one of the seven most powerful men in China. But I have yet to see a proper obituary of Du in the foreign press, which is a real pity. You could make a case that Du was one of the most influential economists to have ever lived.

He was one of the primary authors of the rural reform policies China adopted in the early 1980s, which reversed agricultural collectivization and returned control of farmland to individual farm households. It is no exaggeration to say that as a result, hundreds of millions of people were able to escape poverty. If you measure influence by the sheer number of lives affected, then it seems Du would have to rank pretty high.

Shocking to  see complete ignorance..


One Response to “Du Runsheng, world’s most influential yet ignored economist?”

  1. Firdaus Khan Says:

    Thank you for raising this issue – Western media restricts our view and usually colours our opinion…..but given today’s connected world, we have only ourselves to blame for our myopia. I will surely read up on Du Runsheng.

    Your article reminds me of another pet peeve…. the Western world’s concept of the “Dark Ages.” Chinese, Indian and middle-eastern civilizations had a lot of innovation in that period. Time to bury that term for good!

    Thank you for your posts. They make good reads…

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