This text chronicles Deng Xiaoping's institution of far-reaching and practical economic reforms that seem at odds with Communist theory and its emphasis on ideology. In fact, while Deng often turned to Mao for ideological justification of his reforms, those very reforms seemed to wear away to official ideology. Ultimately, even though the post-Mao government has fostered economic growth, improved standards of living and intellectual pluralism, these changes have resulted in a decline on the perceived legitimacy of the regime.
"What happened to Maoism? Kalpana Misra's excellent analysis of the complex and lingering death of theory in Chinese Communist politics reveals how official ideology lost its privileged position in public discourse. Her meticulously researched study shows how, despite some intelligent efforts to make Chinese Marxism relevant to the changes sweeping across the nation, China's reform-era elite proved incapable of achieving meaningful intellectual consensus. The resulting Party positions cannot be seen as guides to action, but as post-Marxist rationalizations which will not endanger elite interests." -- Richard Kraus, University of Oregon