Rural reform is a big part of communism — take the huge estates, break them up into plots for small farmers to work, and so on, but the state owns the land. China is moving in the opposite direction and starting to re-privatize the land. (In North Korea, where people are starving, this would have a big impact. Fields that people own seem to produce more.) China’s communism is very pragmatic and based on money these days rather than ideology. Money will keep them in power. Beijing wants farmers to consume:

Increasing incomes in the countryside is a major part of the government’s effort to raise China’s domestic consumer spending at a time the overall economy is slowing. More than 700 million people are still designated rural inhabitants, yet their spending is minimal. Economists say that jump-starting the rural economy is one way to offset the possibility of a recession, as exports are expected to slow because of the global financial crisis.

Sounds like George Bush, doesn’t it? Let’s just consume our way out of the recession! Here’s an affordable mortgage for you so you can join the ownership society…

Speaking of a different kind of land use, here’s the blog of a man who is throwing nothing away for one year. He records all of the various products he consumes and what he does what the remainder. Keep in mind that he is trying to generate as little trash as possible, and see how much he creates despite himself! Very eye-opening.

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