China

Mao's Millions

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The BBC reports:

The Little Red Book and other publications continue to produce royalties for Mao's estate more than 30 years after his death.

An article published in the magazine Literary World of Party History laid out just how much Mao has earned from his writing.

It said that in 1967 he was worth 5.7 million yuan ($780,000, £400,000) from books printed in Chinese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and Japanese.

But that figure, including interest, had risen to 130 million yuan ($17.6m, £8.8m) by 2001. The article did not say how much the estate is worth now.

I knew that old commie had the heart of a canny money manager when I heard that the leftist folksinger Phil Ochs had reprinted some of Mao's nonpolitical poetry on an album sleeve. Just for the hell of it, Ochs sent the chairman a check for the rights to the verses. To the singer's surprise, the check was cashed.

Mao's heirs would like to dip into the Helmsman's hoards, but China's cabinet

decided to uphold an earlier decision not to give the money to Mao's relatives because his writings were not his own, but the "crystallisation of the party's collective wisdom".

Insert Randian rant here about collectivist second-handers taking credit for a great man's solitary creation.

NEXT: Into the "No Spin Zone"

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  1. Ahem. There’s only one Helmsman.

  2. An ideologically pure Communist wouldn’t want any filthy lucre anyway.

  3. Hell, forget about cashing the check, a real Communist wouldn’t assert any property rights in the fruits of his labor in the first place.

  4. Somehow, I can’t get upset at the injustice of Mao’s estate being looted by the looters he ruled.

    -jcr

  5. Insert Randian rant here about collectivist second-handers taking credit for a great man’s solitary creation.

    Ok we have a front runner for most intentional irony for 2008…lets see who knocks this sucker down first.

  6. A guy in college used to read the little red book in the weight room, making sure that everyone could see what he was reading. I always wanted to fling a 2.5 pounder at him.

  7. Let a thousand flowers bloom

    But harvest the pollen!

  8. I understand that Mao’s estate gets a royalty every time the Russian Roulette scene from The Deerhunter is played.

  9. See? Lots of Mao.

  10. Mao’s heirs would like to dip into the Helmsman’s hoards, but China’s cabinet

    decided to uphold an earlier decision not to give the money to Mao’s relatives because his writings were not his own, but the “crystallisation of the party’s collective wisdom”.

    Ha!

    Not buying that collectivist bullshit now, huh? Suckers!

    That’s one strike for justice today. Hopefully, we’ll see another some time after the caucuses this evening…

  11. To clarify:

    Justice in the sense of one tasting one’s own medicine.

  12. Taktix,

    Mao’s relatives aren’t responsible for the doings of Mao.

  13. I said, “HOLD THE MAO!”

  14. Maybe they can hire Joe Kennedy to manage the funds. (See Radley’s later post.)

  15. Hitler used the royalties from Mein Kampf to buy a nice vacation villa in Berchesgaden.
    I wonder who owns the rights to Mein Kampt today. And, no Edward, it isn’t Ron Paul.

  16. Hitler used the royalties from Mein Kampf to buy a nice vacation villa in Berchesgaden.

    And he made the Jews wear pieces of flair.

  17. (Ignores godwin)

    creech

    Hitler actually had an even better deal: The German Post office paid him a royalty for the use of his image on all postage stamps. (See Speer’s memoirs.)

  18. Mao’s relatives aren’t responsible for the doings of Mao.

    Dunno about his kids, but his widow had a lot of crimes to account for.

  19. How’s this:

    (a) Mao’s victims sue the Communist Party of China for Mao’s behavior back when Mao and the CPC were basically the same thing.

    (b) The suit is in US court – when the CPC defaults, the plaintiffs are awarded the intellectual property rights to Mao’s literary work (to which the CPC has title under Chinese law).

    (c) The victims market millions of copies of the Little Red Book to aging radicals, connisseurs of camp, and sensation-seeking youth.

    (d) The victims take some of the profits for themselves, use some of the profits to manufacture a line of Mao urinals. Remember from a thread a few months ago how making a urinal in the shape of the Virgin Mary is a sign of respect in China? Sell the Mao urinals to the Chinese govt so they can respect Mao all the more.

  20. [Mao’]s widow had a lot of crimes to account for.

    She didn’t last too long after his death. Even among the thugs of the CCP, she was brutal. On the plus side, her and her three cronies gave us the name for a crappy post-punk band.

    I actually had a college prof who was a Maoist (in the early 90’s). I remember she once gushed about her girlish crush on a “man who changed so many lives” in front of the class. At the time, I was a librul, but I still wanted to say “yeah, he ended about 30 million of them.” I’m still sorry I didn’t.

  21. Insert Randian rant here about collectivist second-handers taking credit for a great man’s solitary creation.

    Insert anarcho-capitalist rant here about how copyright is an creation of government that grants artificial property rights which stifle future creativity for the benefit of the ephemeral present.

  22. Creech,
    The state of Bavaria owns the rights to Mein Kampf today, but it loses the rights in 2015.

  23. Insert Randian rant here about collectivist second-handers taking credit for a great man’s solitary creation.

    LOL!

  24. …and if you go carryin’ pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

  25. According to wikipedia, the Bavarian govt owns all rights except the English, Dutch, and Swedish versions. In the US, Houghton Mifflin owns the rights.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mein_kampf#Current_availability

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