The framework of the Chinese economic model was industrialization in forced steps. Before building up Socialism, the country needed to defeat its backwardness. Therefore, it needed to build a material base to develop a system capable of producing prosperity, and then reinvest that base into a cycle of self-sustainment. Socialism was considered at the time to be an end, and a means. Chinese intentions would have liberated the repressed energies of capitalism irrationalism and would have built an egalitarian society. In this double objective there was no distinction between the Chinese leadership. In fact, there was a tragic awareness that they had a dreadful task ahead of them, even if it was full of idealistic aspirations. The Marxist idea of the necessity of an advanced society before proceeding to edify Socialism was not ignored. The challenge was in fact the absence of a material base on which to plan this momentous experiment. They could not distribute what had not been produced, and now they could start producing with new and more scientific methods.
The Chinese option picks up the Soviet eastern wind in this sense. This had put a definite acceleration to Marx’s predictions, who had imagined a revolution possible in Germany, or any other advanced capitalist country. Lenin had already accomplished the movement of the western model towards the east. Mao Zedong furthered this theoretical migration, but found himself facing more serious problems than the Bolsheviks. Like Moscow, Beijing decided to take a shortcut: quickly building an economy to give life to a consolidated system, and then to a new society. Stalin and Lenin had already set the basis for the way forward: after wartime communism and the NEP, the beginning of the first Five Year Plan in 1928 announced the victory of economic development favoring industry. China could not, and would not, give up on the goal. In1952 Beijing had to lay the basic foundations for industry, protect its borders, build infrastructure. In industrial terms it can be summarized as: steel, cement, and machines. They needed factories, cranes, roads, houses, and machines to build more machines. Heavy industry, the structural assets were needed to start down the road towards industrialization. The iron and steel industry, coal, and transportation sucked up resources that could have gone towards light industry. China was forced into a run, developing in a few years the kind of manufacturing framework that took Europe years to build, and the resources to sustain it would come from the rural countryside.