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Thread: Communism: Do Russians think the USSR was communist?

  1. #21
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    It might probably help if Химик provided brief definitions of both terms to make a sort of terminological corridor.
    The following is from "The Principles of Communism" which was written in 1847. Well before the existence of the Soviet Union.

    Note that "present day society" refers to the capitalist society of 1847.

    Reactionary Socialism:
    The first category consists of adherents of a feudal and patriarchal society which has already been destroyed, and is still daily being destroyed, by big industry and world trade and their creation, bourgeois society. This category concludes, from the evils of existing society, that feudal and patriarchal society must be restored because it was free of such evils. In one way or another, all their proposals are directed to this end.

    This category of reactionary socialists, for all their seeming partisanship and their scalding tears for the misery of the proletariat, is nevertheless energetically opposed by the communists for the following reasons:

    (i) It strives for something which is entirely impossible.

    (ii) It seeks to establish the rule of the aristocracy, the guildmasters, the small producers, and their retinue of absolute or feudal monarchs, officials, soldiers, and priests – a society which was, to be sure, free of the evils of present-day society but which brought it at least as many evils without even offering to the oppressed workers the prospect of liberation through a communist revolution.

    (iii) As soon as the proletariat becomes revolutionary and communist, these reactionary socialists show their true colors by immediately making common cause with the bourgeoisie against the proletarians.
    Bourgeois Socialism:
    The second category consists of adherents of present-day society who have been frightened for its future by the evils to which it necessarily gives rise. What they want, therefore, is to maintain this society while getting rid of the evils which are an inherent part of it.

    To this end, some propose mere welfare measures – while others come forward with grandiose systems of reform which, under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve the foundations, and hence the life, of existing society.

    Communists must unremittingly struggle against these bourgeois socialists because they work for the enemies of communists and protect the society which communists aim to overthrow.
    Democratic Socialism:
    Finally, the third category consists of democratic socialists who favor some of the same measures the communists advocate, as described in Question 18 [see below], not as part of the transition to communism, however, but as measures which they believe will be sufficient to abolish the misery and evils of present-day society.

    These democratic socialists are either proletarians who are not yet sufficiently clear about the conditions of the liberation of their class, or they are representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, a class which, prior to the achievement of democracy and the socialist measures to which it gives rise, has many interests in common with the proletariat.

    It follows that, in moments of action, the communists will have to come to an understanding with these democratic socialists, and in general to follow as far as possible a common policy with them – provided that these socialists do not enter into the service of the ruling bourgeoisie and attack the communists.

    It is clear that this form of co-operation in action does not exclude the discussion of differences.
    Measures that communists advocate (Question 18 ):
    (i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.
    (ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.
    (iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people.
    (iv) Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.
    (v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    (vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.
    (vii) Increase in the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation – all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.
    (viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.
    (ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.
    (x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.
    (xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.
    (xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.
    It should be obvious to anyone that the western world is very socialist. Even the United States, the most anti-socialism/communism country I know of, has taken a lot of communist measures.

  2. #22
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    Well, I made experiment and call my mother (56 years old).
    Ha-ha, I asked my parents and my grandmother too. All said that USSR was only going to communism, and that they lived in socialist country. However when I asked what is the difference between communism and socialism, each of them answered: "I don't remember".
    Alex80 likes this.

  3. #23
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    As far as I am aware, it was called "building communism". It was understood by most educated Europeans - that communism was the goal and not the current state in the "communist" countries.

    A basic thing that most people know about Communism: There is no money in communism.
    But all the "communist" (socialist) used money. So this proved in a very simplistic way to kids and regular people that there was not communism in Eastern Europe.


    The ruling parties in those countries were called Communist because that was their ideology, not because they could instantly create communism. Creating communism turned out to take a lot longer than what Marx etc had envisaged.

    Plus - there was a lot of criticism from foreign communists against the USSR - because the USSR went against Marxist ideals when they fortified their borders and got involved in wars and the arms race with the US (all that is against Marxist ideology).

    So regarding the USSR, it was very common for people to point out "they are not real communists, it's "state capitalism" there.
    Did Russians say that about themselves too? Plus, in hindsight, it's clear at least to me, that there was a sort of a bourgeoisie in the USSR. People who lived very well and had opportunities that others did not have. Definitely not communist...In the defense of the USSR I guess one could say that it was easy to be utopian and ideologically pure from afar... To sit at a cafe in Paris or Stockholm and pretend that you'd be able to snap your fingers and realise Marx' dream.

    Whereas the actual planners in the USSR had to deal with reality - ensure that 250 million people were housed, fed, clothed etc. All the while the USA was actively plotting to destroy the system.
    So, in order to cope, they took some shortcuts that Marx (and Lenin) probably would not have agreed with.

    And in the end, the whole thing fell because they ignored the warnings of communist ideology and let themselves be manipulated by capitalist influences from abroad.

    I agree about the words "proletarian" and "bourgeoisie". They sound outdated now.
    Those people who used such words a lot in the past, are talking about gay rights, multiculturalism and feminism today.

  4. #24
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    Socialist country heading towards communism is what we were taught here, too.

  5. #25
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    All that communist thing was a drug for sheeple's brains. The commie party mafia that ruled the country were going to "build" it forever, while their 250 million slaves worked for mere food to maintain their (the mafia's) well-being. Such a system was naturally doomed to failure.

  6. #26
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    A basic thing that most people know about Communism: There is no money in communism.
    But all the "communist" (socialist) used money. So this proved in a very simplistic way to kids and regular people that there was not communism in Eastern Europe.
    LOL! I came across a hilarious joke as a kid, that might explain it:

    Q. "Will there be money in communism?"
    A. "Yugoslavian comrades say there will be; Chinese comrades say there won't be; we merge these two theories, and think there will be money, but not everyone will have it."

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexsms View Post

    But I often here people in Russia today commenting on Norway and Sweden using phrases like У них там социализм (They have socialism there). I think this is quite interesting. The meanings of words are really evolving and changing.
    Yes, you are right that the meanings of what socialism is, (or what people think it is..) has evolved.
    I have met a several Russians who have this view, and a very idealised view of Sweden. It must be something that's been written about in Russian media? One person actually wanted to emigrate to Sweden for that reason.

    Sweden was traditionally much more "red" than Norway, but this has now changed. Only Norway can afford grand "socialist" schemes, thanks to their oil...Sweden is much more restrictive. What extra money there is, goes on funding immigration and attempts at integrating new immigrants.

    In my childhood (mainly 1980s), there was lots of socialism going on, and anyone from the USSR would probably have perceived Sweden as a "deluxe" and relaxed version of the USSR. Everyone was constantly throwing around socialist jargon and media in particularly was practically communist. We sang socialist songs in school but at the same time people said "we have enough capitalism to keep the wheels greased". It was all democratically elected. People just kept voting for Social democrats. The state was like an omni-present parent that always knew best. It still is, in Sweden and it can be very overbearing. Socialism worked relatively well in Sweden in the past, because the country was homogenous (no problems with minorities or different cultures). Almost everybody had a strong work ethic, which is part of Lutheran tradition.

    It was known to us, that one of the biggest problems in the USS, was people who didn't pull their weight, and the fact that the USSR spent so much of its money propping up backwards Soviet areas and third world allies. The alleged abuses of the Soviet state were sometimes whispered about. My dad did a lot of business in the USSR and sometimes talked about his observations. Many people were interested and wanted to hear what he thought.

    In the past, Swedes and Norwegian socialists were concerned about things like social justice and the other traditional objectives of Marx & co. But now people in the left now have forgotten this! Instead they are obsessing about immigration/mulitculturalism, gay rights and feminism. You can't turn on the TV or read a paper without seeing promotion of this. That's what younger people now associate with socialism. Meanwhile class differences are now growing every year. Social democratic work policies don't work with the new "multicultural" society where 1-2 people in 10 simply don't have the same references, because they come from Africa or the Middle East.

    In Norway, imo, people just got lazy and entitled from the social democratic system! Lots of young people deliberately don't get a job, but spend a couple of years on benefits, "discovering themselves". Immigrants spend on average 7 years on benefits, before they get a real job. Many are still unemployed after 15 years.
    Lots of locally born people people in secure jobs are skiving off, lazy or indifferent, and you can tell when you visit: Poor service, crazy bureacracy etc.

    Hope all this made some sense!
    So, anyone looking for socialism: You'll find some remnants in Norway, otherwise the only country still doing it in Europe on a limited scale, is Belarus. What Belarus is doing, looks to me like Nordic social democracy from the 1970s. The people there have voted for it, although some criticize the democratic process there.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    LOL! I came across a hilarious joke as a kid, that might explain it:

    Q. "Will there be money in communism?"
    A. "Yugoslavian comrades say there will be; Chinese comrades say there won't be; we merge these two theories, and think there will be money, but not everyone will have it."
    Yugoslavia was just socialist. I don't think it even had communism as the stated objective. It wasn't considered to be properly part of the Eastern bloc, back in those days. They had private enterprise on a limited scale.
    I don't think that the USSR, or China which you mention, took them seriously as communists whatsoever. Yugoslavia had mass tourism from Western Europe, just as an example.

  9. #29
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    So, anyone looking for socialism: You'll find some remnants in Norway, otherwise the only country still doing it in Europe on a limited scale, is Belarus.
    Literally every country in Europe is socialist. No socialist country is more socialist than the other. It is really a black and white thing. You either live in a socialist country or you don't.

    There are different types of socialism for sure (feudalism would be consider reactionary socialism for example), but let me assure you, Europe is entirely socialist.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemist12 View Post
    Literally every country in Europe is socialist. No socialist country is more socialist than the other. It is really a black and white thing. You either live in a socialist country or you don't.

    There are different types of socialism for sure (feudalism would be consider reactionary socialism for example), but let me assure you, Europe is entirely socialist.
    I think most residents of Europe would disagree with you, and I don't know what makes you qualified to determine the political nature of an entire continent, in direct contrast to the views of its inhabitants. Are you American?

    To say "no socialist country is more socialist than another" shows that you don't understand the concept of socialism.
    The less private ownership there is, the more socialism there is. There are also different levels of workers rights, pricing structure and much more that are telltale signs of to what degree socialism has been implemented in a country. All European countries today, except Belarus, has a majority of private ownership of industry and the service sector. By definition, that means they are NOT socialist.

    Usually unfounded accusations about "socialism" and "communism" without understanding it, come from teenagers (if European) or Americans.

  11. #31
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    I think most residents of Europe would disagree with you, and I don't know what makes you qualified to determine the political nature of an entire continent, in direct contrast to the views of its inhabitants.
    Err... I am the person that started this thread - so it should suggest to you that I have a particular interest in the subject. I study socialism and have read a lot of the original writings of socialists and communists (from hundreds of years ago).

    I have also read more recent communist and socialist literature (which basically just restates and expands on what the older literature said).

    I regularly watch the updates by Richard Wolff, a/the leading American Marxian economist. Richard Wolff is also very knowledgeable when it comes to socialism and has produced an entire video series on the subject. He consults with businesses that are looking for assistance in developing their communist style businesses.

    I have also watched many of the talks by prominent European socialists.

    Are you American
    No I am not. What has that got to do with anything? I am from New Zealand (which is also a socialist country).

    To say "no socialist country is more socialist than another" shows that you don't understand the concept of socialism.
    To say that this means I don't understand the concept of socialism, shows that you don't understand the concept of socialism.

    Would you consider a feudal society more socialist than Norway? Both are socialist - just different types.

    Feudalism had a lot of private ownership (the lords owned the land). That doesn't change the fact that feudalism is a type of socialism (reactionary socialism).

    Usually unfounded accusations about "socialism" and "communism" without understanding it, come from teenagers (if European) or Americans.
    Except I didn't make unfounded "accusations" about socialism and communism did I? I literally posted earlier on in this topic quotes from the 1847 book "The Principles of Communism" - which set out what socialism is.

    Today, there have been more branches of socialism (for example Marxian-Lenism socialism), but that does not mean the old literature is not relevant. The old literature is still what most modern day communist and socialism is based on. New literature still references the old literature. It is still studied by proponents of socialism and communism.

    Many of the Europeans I have met are happy to accept that they live in socialist countries. I think it is more likely that an American would not think they live in a socialist country (even though they do).

    I also read reports produced by the European Union on socialist/communist practices in Europe (for example Co-determination in Germany).

    And yes, before you ask, I do know the difference between communism and socialism. Implementing communist ideals is one form of socialism (democratic socialism) which is why I use a "/" mark between the two. The practices/ideals constitute a part of socialism until the country becomes fully communist.

  12. #32
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    In russian wiki there is strong difference between "social state" and "socialistic state".
    Second includes elimination of private property as important thing (usually on the way to communism). First is about wide social programs and state-controlled private business.
    So, it may be wrong to name EU/SA state "socialistic", but they are definitely not "pure capitalism/market".
    Even if we talk about "private property/business" we must remember:
    - dotations and tax regulations for business, which are indirect form of STATE-CONTROLLED ECONOMY (green energy as the modern example, agriculture and farming is long-term example)
    - dotations/pensions/tax regulations for private persons, which are indirect form of state-controlled "social equality"
    and so on.
    Also, if you remember that government is "chosen by people and express will of people" you end up with "it's people who control economy and many aspects of life in global way".
    All things are mixed up in modern states.

  13. #33
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    Not only that, but having a democratic constitution would constitute socialism.

    A democratic constitution was also one of the goals of the early communists - but again, a country is not communist until it has fully implemented communism.

    Also, keep in mind that while Communists wanted to use socialism as a way to reach communism, that does not mean that for many people socialism is not an end in itself (there are plenty of socialists - as opposed to communists). It also does not mean that all forms of socialism are consistent with a path to Communism - they are not.

    The early communists identified democratic socialism as the movement that they could work with to reach communism.

  14. #34
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    Chemist, sorry if I came on a bit strongly. In the past there have been lots of people coming in here and hollering about "commies" and that everything apart from US Republicans is "socialist". I.e. "Obama is a socialist".

    That said, I don't agree with the academic interpretation of some old texts that lead you to believe that "Europe is socialist".

    I also don't believe that most people in New Zealand would agree that they live in a socialist country. I think you are taking some ivory tower position that just doesn't line up with reality.

    Basically, Alex80 nails it:

    What you are talking about, is "Social democracy", or social democratic influence.
    It's true that this is common in Europe, particularly the Northern parts, and particularly Scandinavia.

    That is NOT real socialism though! It contains some aspects of socialism, but frankly, so does Christianity. The types of policies I refer to are making healthcare and university "free", subsidising public transport and ensuring everybody has adequate housing.

    In the countries where social democracy took hold, even the parties that are not social democratic had to adopt a lot of the social democratic policies if they wanted any chance of winning an election.
    People quickly got used to the benefits that the social democrats introduced. They wanted to keep all, or most of it, even if they were not social democrats themselves.

    During this period, the top 15% of the population had their living conditions reduced quite a bit. Most aristocrats lost their fortunes and land-holdings due to taxation. Most others saw their living standards rising year by year.

    Social democracy = A hybrid of capitalism and socialism, where there are privately owned production means
    and regular elections. They wanted to achieve socialism gradually, without any revolution. This became really popular with the working class in many European countries (i.e. the majority of the population). In Sweden, the social democrats had 70 years of near uninterrupted rule to implement their goals. They were incredibly popular. They catered for some really "red" people, and others who were just interested in what they personally could get out of it.

    Initially, the goal of social democracy was socialism --> communism. The idea was to get there gradually, without violence or a revolution. However, as time progressed this objective was discreetly dropped. In the 1920s-1930s, social democrats quite liked the USSR (the social aspects of it, like childcare and worker collectives).

    But after the war, the social democrats stopped idealising the USSR. Instead started supporting anti-imperialist/anti-colonial liberation struggle in the developing world and countries like Cuba, Allende's Chile, Zimbabwe and Yugoslavia.

    "Internationalism" became a big thing - i.e. solidarity with people in various poor countries. Richer social democratic countries gave aid to anyone from liberation fighters in South America, the ANZ in South Africa, and to North Korea, Vietnam and Tanzania. Political refugees, mainly from right wing dictatorships were given political asylum.

    In the 1990s, socialism was extremely discredited, as most of us remember. The social democratic parties reacted by moving more towards the right. No more red banners and "Internationale".

    They started selling out publically owned companies, they stopped subsidising a lot of things that previously had been almost free. On paper, they remained committed to "the welfare state", but in reality it became harder and harder for normal people to fit the criteria to access a lot of welfare state benefits. They broke completely with all remaining socialist or communist countries.

    In the early 2000s, social democrats got really serious about feminism, anti-racism, generous immigration and gay rights. That's where they still are at. In the meantime the welfare states have declined and class divides are on the rise again.

    That's social democracy in a nutshell, from somebody who grew up with it. If you want to call that "socialism" I can't stop you, but I don't agree!

    And do be aware that several of the heavyweight socialists/communists absolutely hated social democracy and considered it to be treason against real socialism, and a trojan horse. Communists also hate them, because they steal potential voters from communist parties, and/or stood in the way of revolution. Certainly Marx and Lenin were strongly against social democracy.

    Socialism and communism has played an absolutely immeasurable role in Europe. The generation of our grandparents or great grandparents grew up deeply unequal conditions that we can't even imagine today. Socialism and social democracy changed all that. Re communism, it has shaped Russia in particular, but also all of Eastern Europe.

    For that reason, I feel it's extremely important that people have no misconceptions about what these ideologies and polices were, or weren't!

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    Socialism and communism has played an absolutely immeasurable role in Europe. The generation of our grandparents or great grandparents grew up deeply unequal conditions that we can't even imagine today. Socialism and social democracy changed all that. Re communism, it has shaped Russia in particular, but also all of Eastern Europe.
    What do you think played the crucial role for equalizing ppl's living conditions, the socialism as it was treated in the European "red block" countries, or just normal capitalism evolving? Because I was taught and used to think it's the second, and not the first.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Yugoslavia was just socialist. I don't think it even had communism as the stated objective. It wasn't considered to be properly part of the Eastern bloc, back in those days. They had private enterprise on a limited scale.
    I don't think that the USSR, or China which you mention, took them seriously as communists whatsoever. Yugoslavia had mass tourism from Western Europe, just as an example.
    I know that, and actually, the joke mentions them as "revisionists", and it refers to the "Chinese comrades" as "dogmatists". The punchline is about combining two polar opposite views into something that people under "state capitalism" (and the USSR obviously was one) would rather believe, based on their own experience in such a system. =))

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    What do you think played the crucial role for equalizing ppl's living conditions, the socialism as it was treated in the European "red block" countries, or just normal capitalism evolving? Because I was taught and used to think it's the second, and not the first.
    I think this is a very complex question, and a lot of dynamics play in.
    You can't just look at it in isolation.

    If a communist revolution hadn't happened in Russia, it almost certainly would have happened somewhere else, like England, France or Germany. Socialism was boiling across Europe for half a century, due to unequal conditions and imperialist wars. It was inevitable that a communist revolution would happen somewhere. By chance (?) the largest country, with the most natural resources and best able to protect itself, was where it eventually happened.

    There were lots of side effects of the socialist influence across the continent.

    Improved conditions in other countries: As a direct result of the revolution in Russia, conditions were instantly improved for workers and peasants in neighbouring countries. This was of course because elites got scared the revolution would spread. To appease the workers and peasants, their conditions were improved.

    Religion:
    For example, from my own background: Scandinavia being the most atheist region on Earth, is the result of good living and uninterupted socialist influence for almost a century. It's the first place on earth where almost nobody believes in God. What are the long term results of this? Time will tell...

    Level of education:
    What would have happened in Russia and South East Europe without the revolution? These areas weren't industrialised, and peasants were horrendously oppressed. People didn't even know how to read. Whatever else you think about socialism, it educated people and it sped up industrialisation.

    Technology: If the USSR hadn't got spurred on by a quest for hardcore science and ideology, they wouldn't have been first in space! If they hadn't been first in space, the USA probably hadn't bothered going to the Moon..
    Without the space race, we wouldn't have sattellite technology today...

    WW2: Without the the focus of the USSR to fight the Nazis, they probably would have won the war.

    Socialism was largely what stopped colonialism, as well as the brutal right wing dictatorships in Southern Europe.
    All this goes on, and on and on.

    So it's not just about somebody sitting in Poland and thinking "F-ck communism, if that hadn't happened, I would own a villa with a swimming pool and a brand new BMW like some rich dude...."

    I think a few of the Eastern European countries would have been better off today without socialism, for instance Poland and Hungary. Some other areas would be worse off (large parts of the ex USSR and South east Europe). I don't know it for sure, but it's what I think.

    In hindsight I think that it was a mistake by the socialist countries to end socialism the way they did. Phasing it out gradually would have been better, alternatively a well managed perestroika.
    As it is, they got screwed over and ripped off, and I think that's the modern tragedy of Europe. The EU has not been the equality fix that many of us thought it would be. Instead it made things worse in many ways.

    So there you have my personal view of all this.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemist12 View Post
    Hi everyone,
    I was wondering if most Russians think that the USSR was in anyway communist? Many people in the west think of the USSR as communist when in fact it was obviously socialist.
    So, are Russians taught about socialism and communism? Do they know the difference?
    Please define communism first. What I found is that the "West" has its own definition of communism, which has nothing to do with reality.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    What do you think played the crucial role for equalizing ppl's living conditions, the socialism as it was treated in the European "red block" countries, or just normal capitalism evolving? Because I was taught and used to think it's the second, and not the first.
    the socialism always goes for equalizing living conditions among different social groups of a society(for example - Sweden). Capitalism cares less about it(for example - USA)
    But in general what matters most is economy, the better the economy the more people care about something beside food and shelter - Maslow pyramid is in action.
    Could it be possible that USSR would have remained socialistic and have high life standards - yes, it would have(in some other time), Sweden is an example. Could have USSR be better economically if it would have been capitalistic, yes, it would have, the US is an example.
    It's the matter of perspective.
    I would say the more developed the country is(economically and culturally) - the more socialistic it would become. USSR was destined to fail because it was too young to be socialistic.

    As for democracy - it does not exist, the same way as communism couldn't exist.
    maxmixiv likes this.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by hddscan View Post
    the socialism always goes for equalizing living conditions among different social groups of a society(for example - Sweden). Capitalism cares less about it(for example - USA)
    But in general what matters most is economy, the better the economy the more people care about something beside food and shelter - Maslow pyramid is in action.
    Could it be possible that USSR would have remained socialistic and have high life standards - yes, it would have(in some other time), Sweden is an example. Could have USSR be better economically if it would have been capitalistic, yes, it would have, the US is an example.
    It's the matter of perspective.
    I would say the more developed the country is(economically and culturally) - the more socialistic it would become. USSR was destined to fail because it was too young to be socialistic.

    As for democracy - it does not exist, the same way as communism couldn't exist.
    Interesting comments. I agree with most of what you say.
    But as a Swedish person I don't believe that my country is socialist, and neither to most Swedish people, apart from right wing people who want to whinge about things they don't like.

    I don't think it can be called "socialist" because there has always been private ownership of a large part of the industry. I admit that there was a period during the 1960s — 1985 when there was a lot of socialist "paraphernalia/language and ideology. The state owned all utilities companies and there were virtually no private alternatives in healthcare, education etc. A lot of people believed that the eventual victory of communism was inevitable.

    But socialism was never fully in charge of the country, and in the 1990s, the state sold off their companies and introduced market pricing on most things.

    I just don't agree with it being labelled "socialist" either by you or by Chemist12. Today, it's absolutely like any other Western European country.

    But I think the USSR is very fascinating as a project, an experience etc. I would like to understand what was good and bad about it, what exactly made it voluntarily dissolve itself and fail. Can socialism and communism help the developing world?

    The challenge about it is that everything relating to the USSR is hidden behind strong feelings of people who experienced it, layers of propaganda and illusion coming from every angle of historical documentation.

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