In This Review

The Transition to Socialism in China
The Transition to Socialism in China
Edited by Mark Selden and Victor Lippit
Sharpe, 1982, 336 pp

For years, Western leftist intellectuals and official Maoist media were describing a China-of decentralized socialism, mass participation, worker control, etc.-that did not exist except in rhetoric. Andrew Walder's gem of an essay in this otherwise undistinguished collection explains why Mao's model of populistic socialism never offered a truly coherent or feasible alternative to the standard Soviet model. The Maoist experiment failed because Mao condemned as "revisionist" the only possible mechanism for achieving decentralization of the Chinese economy-market socialism; consequently his policies had results exactly contrary to his wishes and to the claims of his apologists. That Walder's important essay should appear in this volume is rather ironic. Several of the contributors to it were among the principal purveyors of the Maoist "myths."