Real reason Soviet Union Collapsed - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14494462
The Soviet Union was the world's Second Largest Economy so the whole "backward economy" argument is out the window. There are a couple real factors though and Reagan had little to do with them.

1) Soviet Demographic cliff because of WW2 meant the 80s was a period of declining consumption (deflation).
2) Chernobyl blew up 1/4th of all Soviet Agricultural land and cost $17Trillion USD in today's money.
3) Gorbachev's Glasnost delegitimized the government (imagine if the next President admitted 9/11 was in fact an inside job?)
4) Gorbachev wanted to end the state ownership system, but in doing so began to sell off large portions of public wealth to private buyers.

In conclusion I'd say the Soviet Union imploded inspite of Reagan not because of Reagan.
#14494477
The Soviet Union was the world's Second Largest Economy so the whole "backward economy" argument is out the window. There are a couple real factors though and Reagan had little to do with them.


This is a false argument. It was a large economy on paper (it was fucking huge and full of oil) but impoverished in terms of consumer goods and quality of life.

In conclusion I'd say the Soviet Union imploded inspite of Reagan not because of Reagan.


I agree. All Reagan did was increase the risk of communist fundamentalists and paranoid generals taking over.
#14494481
The USSR failed because it used the communist system. This allowed individual government entities to spend resources on negative or low return projects. The dead weight of too many lousy quality projects, coupled to the oil price drop, Chernobyl, and the overspending on weapons caused an economic crunch. The system was rotten, and it toppled.
#14494506
Angelamerkel wrote:This allowed individual government entities to spend resources on negative or low return projects.


This is why 'the Left' is so maligned and misunderstood. If you are a capitalist - and only money makes your world go round - then you do things in order to make money. These 'negative or low return projects' were being done because there was a requirement for the project to be done, not to make money. This is the central problem with argument between the poles of the Left-Right axis; those on the Left do things because they must be done, usually to meet needs, whereas those on the right do things to make money, usually to satisfy wants. Being fallible, humans often want things they don't need and need things they don't want. Only capitalism panders to that fallibility.
#14494709
The main reason why the Soviet Union collapsed was Gorbachev's decision to not to intervene in Eastern Europe militarily to enforce Soviet rule. The unraveling of the Soviet bloc began in Poland in June 1989 and contrary to the world's expectations, Soviet tanks did not roll into Poland preventing the new government from taking power. The pro-democracy factions in Soviet Russia also tested Gorbachev's determination to keep the Soviet Union intact but Gorbachev was too liberal to use Stalinist tactics to impose Communist rule. President Reagan is generally credited with winning the Cold War but the end of the Soviet Union owed much to Gorbachev's personality and Reagan said of Gorbachev, "There was warmth in his face and his style, not the coldness bordering on hatred I'd seen in most senior Soviet officials I'd met until then." We cannot expect this to happen in Communist China in the near future and the CCP leadership would continue to oppress pro-democracy activists domestically and send ground troops to put down future popular uprisings in Tibet and Xinjiang.

[youtube]q85s7UOYU0Y[/youtube]

All this explains nothing about the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Had the Soviet Union had been economically and politically healthy, the demise of the Warsaw Pact would have been a net benefit.


When it comes to a Communist state, economic factors play a minor role for the survival of the Communist system overall and impoverished Communist countries such as Cuba and North Korea still exist to this day. Francis Fukuyama's thesis that capitalism triumphed over Communism due to the superiority of Western-style democracy now sounds hollow as Communist China has become the world's second largest economy while maintaining the CCP's one-party rule. China's surprising economic success over the last decade will prolong the CCP's dominance and South Korea could ditch the US for China.
Last edited by ThirdTerm on 05 Dec 2014 00:06, edited 2 times in total.
#14494723
ThirdTerm wrote:The main reason why the Soviet Union collapsed was Gorbachev's decision to not to intervene in Eastern Europe militarily to enforce Soviet rule. The unraveling of the Soviet bloc began in Poland in June 1989 and contrary to the world's expectations, Soviet tanks did not roll into Poland preventing the new government from taking power. The pro-democracy factions in Soviet Russia also tested Gorbachev's determination to keep the Soviet Union intact but Gorbachev was too liberal to use Stalinist tactics to impose Communist rule. President Reagan is generally credited with winning the Cold War but the end of the Soviet Union owed much to Gorbachev's personality and Reagan said of Gorbachev, "There was warmth in his face and his style, not the coldness bordering on hatred I'd seen in most senior Soviet officials I'd met until then." We cannot expect this to happen in Communist China in the near future and the CCP leadership would continue to oppress pro-democracy activists domestically and send ground troops to put down future popular uprisings in Tibet and Xinjiang.


All this explains nothing about the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Had the Soviet Union had been economically and politically healthy, the demise of the Warsaw Pact would have been a net benefit.

Nor do explanations relying on inefficiencies of central control tell a coherent story. The Soviet Union had too much economic power under state control and the West has too little. The West will just as surely destroy itself (from a lack of balance between public and private good) as did the Soviet Union. In fact the process is well underway.
#14494972
Francis Fukuyama's thesis that capitalism triumphed over Communism due to the superiority of Western-style democracy now sounds hollow as Communist China has become the world's second largest economy while maintaining the CCP's one-party rule. China's surprising economic success over the last decade will prolong the CCP's dominance and South Korea could ditch the US for China.


It has maintained its one-party rule but it is far from communist anymore. Communism, in any real sense, is dead in China. Governmentally China is just another capitalist state run by autocrats who formerly embraced communism.
#14494982
Cartertonian wrote:This is why 'the Left' is so maligned and misunderstood. If you are a capitalist - and only money makes your world go round - then you do things in order to make money. These 'negative or low return projects' were being done because there was a requirement for the project to be done, not to make money..


The left is understood to be oblivious to fundamental physics (and economics).

You sound like an intelligent person. So let's use this analogy:

Two Paleolithic hunter clans live close to each other in what today is known as the Neander valley.

Their respective leaders. Grok and Hunk, have cave-comunes.

Grok, capitalist by nature, has his hunters spend all their efforts hunting for meat, limit their hunting expeditions to no more than two days' march because the energy spent dragging a dead deer back to the cave exceeds the energy they will get from the meat.

Hunk, on the other hand, is a proto Marxist caveman, doesn't get the idea, and allows his men to hunt up to four days away.

Over time, Grok's clan grows healthier and their children are bigger. Hunk's people, on the other hand are skinny, their children are runts.

Hunk, being a proto Marxist, starts organizing auto criticism sessions, to have hunters reveal their failure to return with as much meat as needed. He also prepares a five year plan which requires 5 %/year increase in meat catch and a reward system to have a "hunter of the year", whose prize is a cap with red feathers.

The plan fails, and hunters try to abandon Hunk's cave to move to Grok's clan. This forces him to assign 5% of the clan population to serve as snoops and guard their borders to prevent escapes. The plan fails when the two largest hunters manage to get away with their families, and the remaining hunters kill Hunk, and replace him with Orc, a proto capitalist like Grok.
#14495009
Angelamerkel wrote:
The left is understood to be oblivious to fundamental physics (and economics).

You sound like an intelligent person. So let's use this analogy:

Two Paleolithic hunter clans live close to each other in what today is known as the Neander valley.

Their respective leaders. Grok and Hunk, have cave-comunes.

Grok, capitalist by nature, has his hunters spend all their efforts hunting for meat, limit their hunting expeditions to no more than two days' march because the energy spent dragging a dead deer back to the cave exceeds the energy they will get from the meat.

Hunk, on the other hand, is a proto Marxist caveman, doesn't get the idea, and allows his men to hunt up to four days away.

Over time, Grok's clan grows healthier and their children are bigger. Hunk's people, on the other hand are skinny, their children are runts.

Hunk, being a proto Marxist, starts organizing auto criticism sessions, to have hunters reveal their failure to return with as much meat as needed. He also prepares a five year plan which requires 5 %/year increase in meat catch and a reward system to have a "hunter of the year", whose prize is a cap with red feathers.

The plan fails, and hunters try to abandon Hunk's cave to move to Grok's clan. This forces him to assign 5% of the clan population to serve as snoops and guard their borders to prevent escapes. The plan fails when the two largest hunters manage to get away with their families, and the remaining hunters kill Hunk, and replace him with Orc, a proto capitalist like Grok.


WHAT...THE...FUCK?

You seem like an intelligent person, so don't fucking patronise me. I don't know whether or not I'm intelligent, but I have two Masters degrees and I'm working on my doctorate. Your caveman nonsense is nothing other than mischievous satire that has no bearing on reality.

In the neoliberal capitalist dystopia of today, people go hungry not for lack of food, but for lack of money to buy food; people die of curable illness not for lack of medicine, but for lack of money to buy medicine; people are uneducated, not for a lack of education, but for a lack of money to pay for that education.

Because all the money is concentrated into the wallets of the capitalist elites motivated not by the good of their tribe, as you might have it, but by the good of themselves. To briefly nod to your analogy you would argue - I suspect - that those capitalist elites are like Grok's tribe and deserve to have all the money concentrate on them. But then we have to ask ourselves, not as cavemen but twenty-first Century humans, what kind of fucked-up future we are heading for, where the value of a human life can be quantified in monetary terms.

#14495024
The left is understood to be oblivious to fundamental physics (and economics).

You sound like an intelligent person. So let's use this analogy:

Two Paleolithic hunter clans live close to each other in what today is known as the Neander valley.

Their respective leaders. Grok and Hunk, have cave-comunes.

Grok, capitalist by nature, has his hunters spend all their efforts hunting for meat, limit their hunting expeditions to no more than two days' march because the energy spent dragging a dead deer back to the cave exceeds the energy they will get from the meat.

Hunk, on the other hand, is a proto Marxist caveman, doesn't get the idea, and allows his men to hunt up to four days away.

Over time, Grok's clan grows healthier and their children are bigger. Hunk's people, on the other hand are skinny, their children are runts.

Hunk, being a proto Marxist, starts organizing auto criticism sessions, to have hunters reveal their failure to return with as much meat as needed. He also prepares a five year plan which requires 5 %/year increase in meat catch and a reward system to have a "hunter of the year", whose prize is a cap with red feathers.

The plan fails, and hunters try to abandon Hunk's cave to move to Grok's clan. This forces him to assign 5% of the clan population to serve as snoops and guard their borders to prevent escapes. The plan fails when the two largest hunters manage to get away with their families, and the remaining hunters kill Hunk, and replace him with Orc, a proto capitalist like Grok.


This is a big generalization of the whole situation. Under communism/socialism people didn't really live poorly or badly, that is just a stigma that modern historians were able to give to it after the soviet union collapsed. Basically winners write the history. If the Soviet union was so bad economically then why in the middle 30s it was almost able to overtake America as the leading industrial nation after years of civil war. WW2 slowed that process down, so during the cold war SU and America had a sort of parity in that.

If the SU was so bad at economy and technological advancement, how did they send people into space(first), send sputnik into space(first) and many, many other things which your simplistic generalization wont be able to explain.

So instead of thinking what is bad about communism/socialism, you should start thinking what was good about and how to adopt it into your political ideology/system.
Last edited by JohnRawls on 05 Dec 2014 18:41, edited 1 time in total.
#14495034
Can I please have an idiot argue how Reagan destroyed the IDEA of communism pleeease. Or have someone tell me I'm wrong so I can pretend that I'm right and give you select generalities of how he did lol.
#14495104
JohnRawls wrote:Under communism/socialism people didn't really live poorly or badly, that is just a stigma that modern historians were able to give to it after the soviet union collapsed. Basically winners write the history. If the Soviet union was so bad economically then why in the middle 30s it was almost able to overtake America as the leading industrial nation after years of civil war. WW2 slowed that process down, so during the cold war SU and America had a sort of parity in that.

If the SU was so bad at economy and technological advancement, how did they send people into space(first), send sputnik into space(first) and many, many other things which your simplistic generalization wont be able to explain.

So instead of thinking what is bad about communism/socialism, you should start thinking what was good about and how to adopt it into your political ideology/system.


Under communism people did poorly, badly, and lacked freedom. The Soviets chose to make enormous efforts in areas chosen for their propaganda appeal, or because the nonenklatura said so. In other words, they hunted very far from their hone base, achieved very little, and that industrial might went nowhere. The USSR disappeared. Collapsed. And this is the reason why the Chinese Communist Party isn't Marxist, Maoist, Leninist, or whatever other ist we can define.

I don't plan to adopt communism. Therefore I don't see a need to look into the "goodness" of the Evil Empire.

Cartertonian wrote:WHAT...THE...FUCK?

You seem like an intelligent person, so don't fucking patronise me. I don't know whether or not I'm intelligent, but I have two Masters degrees and I'm working on my doctorate. Your caveman nonsense is nothing other than mischievous satire that has no bearing on reality. ....


I knew you were smart. Now I know you are educated. But you can't understand my analogy. This must be very frustrating. But think about it.

Let's try a different approach, so I can address Rawl's concerns: how much would you pay for john's life? What should we use to put a price on it?
Last edited by Angelamerkel on 05 Dec 2014 19:31, edited 1 time in total.
#14495108
I am not saying to do adopt communism, but the whole mantra that communism is all bad and liberalism is all good is wrong. Both ideologies have good parts and bad parts. Adopting the good parts is not a bad idea in my opinion. For example the rise of communism in the late 1890s created things like insurance and social policies, which are not a bad thing, right? (Both private and public by the way)

For example free education and free healthcare are also not a bad idea in general, it is just supremely hard to implement it into the liberal system.
#14495110
I explained why the USSR failed. If you wish, start a different thread to discuss why neoliberalism fails. I can participate and give you my point of view. But now I got to go.
#14495114
You are missing the point. Neoliberalism fails in the same sense Communism fails, there are different parts that are good and bad. If communism was such an inferior system it wouldnt be a rival for liberalism for 100+ years and also wouldn't require liberalism to change to circumvent some of its bad parts. If it was such an inferior system/ideology, it would have died out long ago along with tribalism, absolute monarchy and theocratic state etc. Right now communists have representatives in most countries of the world, although they did loose rulling positions due to the collapse of the Warshaw pact/Communist bloc. (Note by communist, i mean socialist in general)
#14499920
IDNeon wrote:The Soviet Union was the world's Second Largest Economy so the whole "backward economy" argument is out the window. There are a couple real factors though and Reagan had little to do with them.

1) Soviet Demographic cliff because of WW2 meant the 80s was a period of declining consumption (deflation).
2) Chernobyl blew up 1/4th of all Soviet Agricultural land and cost $17Trillion USD in today's money.
3) Gorbachev's Glasnost delegitimized the government (imagine if the next President admitted 9/11 was in fact an inside job?)
4) Gorbachev wanted to end the state ownership system, but in doing so began to sell off large portions of public wealth to private buyers.

In conclusion I'd say the Soviet Union imploded inspite of Reagan not because of Reagan.


I don't know if it was already said, but other causes to the Collapse of Soviet Union was her high burocracy, lack of competition and incentives, along with poor public infrasctructures like Communication...
#14500012
IDNeon wrote:The Soviet Union was the world's Second Largest Economy so the whole "backward economy" argument is out the window. There are a couple real factors though and Reagan had little to do with them.

1) Soviet Demographic cliff because of WW2 meant the 80s was a period of declining consumption (deflation).
2) Chernobyl blew up 1/4th of all Soviet Agricultural land and cost $17Trillion USD in today's money.
3) Gorbachev's Glasnost delegitimized the government (imagine if the next President admitted 9/11 was in fact an inside job?)
4) Gorbachev wanted to end the state ownership system, but in doing so began to sell off large portions of public wealth to private buyers.

In conclusion I'd say the Soviet Union imploded inspite of Reagan not because of Reagan.


WRONG.
You're suggesting that the USSR collapsed because it wasn't Communist enough?
Reagan defeated the Soviet Union and won the Cold War without firing a shot. Reagan proved to the world that freedom and liberty and free market capitalism trump communism and liberalism. End of argument.
#14500054
Angela is right. While there are many threads to the story, in the big picture economic efficiency prevails.

Resource allocation waste and lack of any real cost/benefit accounting is one thing. Even more important is stagnation. You can't plan innovation. There were no startups in USSR! Trying to make any changes carried high risk and virtually no reward. Hence, while they seemed OK at the beginning, they kept falling further and further behind, and people eventually got fed up with this. Trying to keep "citizens" in by force is not a sustainable plan.

North Korea is the last real holdout, but their time will soon come, too.
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