Maoist Asceticism: The Failed Revitalization

Andrew G. Walder

in Communist Neo-Traditionalism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1988 | ISBN: 9780520064706
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520909007 | DOI:
Maoist Asceticism: The Failed Revitalization

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This chapter argues that the Maoist version of factory life was less egalitarian and collectivist. Maoist asceticism is a poor test of anyone's theories about the viability of collectivist and egalitarian practices in modern industry. Wage austerity created new kinds of inequalities and a widespread perception that the principles of income distribution were unfair. There were five different factors that contributed to a marked decline in worker performance in the early 1970s. The political campaigns of the period contributed to the problem. The central Maoist conception of moral revitalization was itself deeply flawed. Revitalization speaks not to the root causes of systemic drift, but to its symptoms. Maoism succeeded in undermining the politicized reward systems that were supposed to be its essence and served primarily to reinforce the evolution toward neo-traditional social forms.

Keywords: moral revitalization; Maoist asceticism; wage austerity; worker; political campaigns

Chapter.  11938 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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