The CPC’s Century-Long Exploration of a Socialist Ownership System

Fang Fuqian (方福前)*

School of Economics, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China

Abstract: Throughout its century-long history, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been striving to explore and implement an ownership system of the means of production. Upon its founding in 1921, the Party envisioned to create a sole ownership system after the victory of the National Revolution. In war times, land issues dominated the agenda of the Party’s work on the ownership structure since most of its bases and liberated areas were in the countryside. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China established a basic socialist economic system through “one industrialization and three transformations,” i.e. socialist industrialization and the transformations of agriculture, artisanal production, and capitalist industry and commerce. This nascent socialist economic system was characterized by the sole public ownership of the means of production and a highly centralized planned economy. Since the reform and opening up in 1978, the Party took bold steps to explore and reform the socialist ownership system under the principle to keep public ownership as the mainstay and allow diverse forms of ownership to develop side by side. In the new era, the Party has redefined China’s basic socialist economic system by creating a mixed ownership structure at two levels with public ownership as the mainstay. China’s increasing economic vitality and dynamism have witnessed the exploration and growth of this mixed ownership system.

Keywords: Ownership structure, sole public ownership, mixed ownership, exploration, implementation

JEL Classification Code: P30

DOI: 10.19602/j.chinaeconomist.2022.05.03

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