gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates
gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

Complex Leader of a Complex Country

Sign In
 
My Profile & Settings
Log out
GO
Filter By
Posts
Videos
Your search for "", with selected filters, does not match any posts. Please try again with a different search term or reset filters.

Popular searches include: Books, Malaria, and Future of Food.
RELATED ARTICLES ON
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
This verification token has expired.
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
- or - Sign up with email
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Send me updates from Bill Gates
Sign Up
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, subscribe to your favorite topics and more. We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Account Settings
VIEW & EDIT PROFILE
Your Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Password
Save
Cancel
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Deactivate Account
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process. Deactivate account If you want to permanently delete your account and remove its content, please send us a request here.
Ok
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

Forgot your password?
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Change your header photo
your image
 
Change
your image
Uh Oh!

The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.

Ok
First name
Last name
Enter a first and last name. For example, "Richard Feynman"
Bio
0/160 characters
Edit Profile
Account Settings
Save
Cancel
Suggested Reads
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. You will now be redirected to the sign in page, or you can click here
Ok
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill
You must provide an email
This email is already registered
Continue
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
 
your image
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Welcome FirstName!
You are now a Gates Notes Insider
Update Your Profile Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Select Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm
Are you sure you want to
deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent
Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions
Sign up to receive occasional updates from the Gates Notes
Sign Up
Privacy Policy
It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer which may not display all the features on this site. Upgrade Now » close
Generation of Change

Complex Leader of a Complex Country

Though the book is framed around the rise of Deng Xiaoping and his reforms that transformed China into an economic powerhouse, Ezra Vogel’s compelling biography examines how China went from being a desperately poor country to certainly one of the two most important countries in the world today.

A Communist revolutionary and military commander under the brutal rule of Mao Zedong, Deng emerged as China’s capable leader in 1978 for fourteen years. For all of Deng’s success leading China out of poverty, he cannot escape the central role he played in violent attacks on landlords in 1949, or intellectuals in 1957 or the tragic killings in Tiananmen Square under his own leadership in 1989.

Deng was a strong believer of socialism although he supported a market economy and created an export model of economic development. Subsequently China’s economy grew at over 10% per year for 20 years.

As part of our work at the Foundation we strive to improve 10 or 20 million lives in the areas of global health and global development. We have discovered new approaches and created new tools to get vaccines, AIDS drugs and contraceptives to the people who need them, and advanced agricultural innovation to transform farmers’ lives so that they can feed their families.

But, China’s reforms coupled with the tenacity and hard work of its people has improved hundreds of millions of people’s lives in less than a generation. That is more human lives climbing out of poverty post World War II than any other country.

Today, about 15 percent of people in the world - over 1 billion people - live in abject poverty. Fifty years ago, 40 percent of the global population was poor. The massive reduction in poverty is due in part to the “Green Revolution,” in the 1960s and 1970s where researchers produced seeds that helped farmers vastly improve their yields. And because of China. One country alone has lifted 500 million people out of abject poverty.

China in 1979 was one of the poorest countries in the world, far poorer than India. They were barely scratching out a living and their population density made it difficult for them to feed their population. There was very little to build on other than the fact that the party had incredible authority. With this authority, Deng set in motion a series of critical changes early on in his leadership to achieve cultural stability and significant economic growth.

Surviving the Great Famine of 1961 where millions died, Deng reformed the land system and increased agriculture production, initially in just one part of the country. He extended farmers’ land leases and encouraged them to profit from any grain they grew over and above what they owed. He introduced high-yielding varieties of cereal grains and synthetic fertilizers emulating the best innovations of the “Green Revolution”. As a result the agricultural sector exploded with farmers producing three times as much in 10 years, all with less labor.

Where before they taxed poor farmers to bootstrap the industrial commune, the workers who were no longer needed in the fields moved into the cities and created a robust industrial sector.

To support a high growth industrial sector, Deng fostered education and built new schools and institutions of learning to underpin the economy. He also endorsed students and business people to travel internationally to study and learn from other countries. China’s success in part has been its ability to synthesize what successful economies have done well and leapfrog history and the competition.

Vogel, an emeritus professor at Harvard University, demonstrates a deep understanding of China’s complex culture and draws on extensive research and his East Asian experience as an intelligence officer for the Clinton Administration. In a recent New York Times interview, Vogel said, “with this book, I thought I could write something new that would educate Americans about China.” I think he absolutely achieves this. Vogel also helps his readers navigate the labyrinth of people and places with mini bios and a map that was an invaluable reference when reading his book.

Although Deng’s transformation of China cannot be separated from the violent attacks that he administered under Mao’s rule or the brutal approach he took to stopping the Tiananmen Square student protests, the economic reforms have improved the livelihoods of millions of people.  China has capitalized on advances in education, healthcare, agriculture and innovative technology to help accelerate their own development and transition beyond the need for aid.

To have done this essentially in one generation is an unbelievable accomplishment and is unique in the history of the world.

Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions

Read previous versions of the Annual Letter


Discussion
comments powered by Disqus