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Democracy & Technology Blog Deng Redux — cutting taxes on Chinese farmers

China will completely eliminate agricultural taxes on its famers over the next 5 years, even though 28 of 31 provinces have already done so. Deng Xiaoping first cut taxes on peasants in 1979, instituting a small quota that went to the government but allowing peasants to keep all additional output. Under this “household responsibility system,” the marginal tax rate on farming was thus zero, and after decades of chronic “famine,” Chinese agriculture boomed. Over the last decade, however, many local officials across the country had begun charging fees and taxes on farmers, leading to widespread rural unrest or at least frustration. Now Beijing will continue Deng’s tradition of low tax rates that has been fundamental to the nation’s 27-year boom.
-Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson is a Senior Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute, where he researches technology and economics and contributes to the Disco-Tech blog. He is currently writing a book on the abundance of the world economy, focusing on the Chinese boom and developing a new concept linking economics and information theory. Swanson writes frequently for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on topics ranging from broadband communications to monetary policy.