Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Good Cats

Cleaning up the back inventory...

Twenty years ago, Deng Xiaoping was asked whether he favored communism or capitalism. He replied that this was like asking whether he liked a black cat better than a white one.

"It does not matter if the cat is white or black," Deng said. "If it can catch a mouse, it is a good cat."


Blogger Charlie Quimby said...

Deng's saying has been reported variously in English, given he was speaking Chinese. And he's been given credit for uttering it in varying contexts. (In the post, I indirectly quoted how a Chinese guide used the maxim.)

In Mao: The Unknown Story, the authors say: "In many places, peasants were allowed to lease land from the commune, and effectively were able to return to being individual farmers [after Mao had forced them into the communes and nearly starved the entire country with his lunatic policies]. This alleviated starvation and motivated productivity. It was in defence of this practice [which Mao supported only grudgingly after his Party nearly threw him out] that Deng Xiaoping quoted an old saying, which became his most famous remark: 'It doesn't matter whether it's a yellow cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice.'"

5:26 PM  

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