Commanding heights of the economy

The commanding heights of the economy refers to existing private industry essential to the economy like public utilities, natural resources, heavy industry and transport as well as control over foreign and domestic trade. This phrase emerged from a branch of modern political philosophy concerned with organising society and can be traced back to Karl Marx's idea on socialism which stresses the commanding heights and advocates for government control of it. This should not be confused with complete socialism or communism.

According to Yevgeni Preobrazhensky, a Bolshevik economist, control over the commanding heights of the economy would ensure primitive socialist accumulation.[1] Deng Xiaoping, the leader who along with Chen Yun introduced the Chinese economic reforms, was inspired by this concept. The Communist Party of China still believes to this day that the state needs to control the economy's commanding heights.

See also


  1. Bonner 2013, p. 86.


  • Bonner, Stephen Eric (2013). Socialism Unbound: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231527357.
  • Wesson, Robert G. (1978). Lenin's Legacy: The Story of the CPSU. Stanford, Calif: Hoover Press. ISBN 978-0817969226.
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