The collectivization of the Chinese countryside under Mao was one of the largest efforts in world history to reorganize people's lives and livelihoods. Almost a sixth of humankind was swept up in the successive waves of revolutionary change in the 1950s that culminated in a collective system of agriculture. Collectivization not only entailed an entirely new system of property ownership. It also gave rise to new types of work relations, and as will be seen in later chapters, this dramatically reshaped social relationships in many thousands of villages. In addition, and equally important, collectivization implanted a new strict form of political hierarchy and political teachings that-as will be seenpenetrated every corner of China and brought rural households firmly under the sway of the state.