Limits to Power
Paul C. Trogen, Yuan Xu

As difficult as it is to gain power, maintaining and exercising it appears even harder. Chinese population policy provides a vivid example of the potential magnitude of power. Yet the evolution of Chinese population policy also demonstrates the serious limits to power. Mao successfully employed ideology and inspiration to lead a guerilla war with minimal bureaucratic infrastruc-ture. Victory gave Mao absolute power. Mao hoped minimizing bureaucracy would maximize his discretion. In-stead weak bureaucratic structures necessitated continued political struggle to maintain control and interfered with Mao’s ability to implement his policies. Reversals of Mao’s population policies allowed population growth to overwhelm the food supply, necessitating more drastic interventions after his death.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jppg.v8n2a1