There are a lot of fucking people in China. So the idea of using that immense population to help convert mainland China into a more modern, productive society wasn’t a bad idea at all. This would mark the first and last decent idea employed during China’s Great Leap Forward, a gargantuan clusterfuck which lasted five years starting in 1958.
How It Backfired:
It would be a lot easier to just tell you the ways this shit didn’t backfire. That would be none. For instance, one part involved taking all the peasant farmers and setting them to making steel. In their backyards. Instead of farming.
Have you ever tried making steel at home? Does that seem like a retardedly impossible thing to do? Congratulations, you are smarter than Chairman Mao.
But perhaps the best example of the Great Leap Forward idiocy was the Great Sparrow Campaign. One of the Great Leap Forward was to rid the country of “the four great pests.” That would be rats, flies, mosquitoes, and…sparrows? Fucking cockroaches get a pass?
At any rate, adorably primitive steps were taken to rid the country of the dreaded sparrows, including villagers shooing them away them away using pots and pans. The reason for this, according to the people behind the plan, was because sparrows fed on seeds, thereby negatively affecting harvests. Unfortunately, the sparrow experts failed to inform the Chinese government the sparrows also ate locusts. So many of them, in fact, that the sparrows were the only thing between China and a full-on Biblical locust plague. With the sparrows fully gone, the locusts swept in.
Remaining harvest levels (meaning the amount the government didn’t seize) were already ridiculously low, thanks partly to the millions of abled-bodied farmers staring confusedly at steel furnaces bellowing smoke in the their backyards instead of farming. What crops were left were promptly devoured by an army of locusts.
So the government got their cut of the grain, the locust got theirs…and 38 million Chinese citizens got nothing. In the name of not completely bumming you out for the rest of the day, we will leave the next few years to your imagination.