How do Mao Tse-tung's policy of the "iron rice bowl" and Deng Xiaopings policy of cheng bao compare? Why should Deng's policy increace the productivity of Chinese factory workers?
The "iron rice bowl" was meant to signify that the basic needs of a worker for various civil services as well as the military. Generations of Chinese workers saw this as a guarantee and depended on it in order to provide for them throughout their lives. This was an important part of Mao's promise to bolster support after the incredibly painful and difficult years of the Cultural Revolution.
Deng's adoption of the "cheng bao" or contract system changed the way that local governments were able to motivate and provide for workers. Their incentive based program should (if much of western economic theory is to be believed) lead to increased output as the workers are actually able to gain financial rewards rather than a simple promise of necessities when times are tight.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial