Talk on the Third Five-year Plan
In the past, our planning methods were basically learnt from the Soviet Union, and this was comparatively easy. First, we fixed the planned quantity of steel and on this basis we calculated the required quantities of coal, electricity, transport power, and so on. And on the basis of these [figures] we further estimated the increase in the urban population and [the required expenditure] on welfare benefits. This was the simple method of running the computer. When steel production decreased, other items decreased accordingly. This kind of method was not practical and got nowhere. Such calculations do not take heaven into account in making the Plan. If natural disasters occur, you simply will not get so much grain. The urban populations will not be able to increase by the expected amount and all the other plans will fail. Such calculations, furthermore, do not take into account the possibility of war.38 We are not the American chiefs-of-staff, and cannot know when a war is about to break out. In addition, it is difficult to plan for revolutions in some countries. For example, how can we predict that the people’s revolutions in some countries will be successful, and thus will require economic aid from us?
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