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Red Plenty: Lessons From The Soviet Dream

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Sorry if this has been posted, but I've been on my hols...

An interesting article from 7th Aug Guardian on the soviet dream.

Some quotes:

In the quick, associative slideshow that assembles itself in our heads these days when the USSR (1917-91) is mentioned, the bits with the flags and with Stalin's moustache now lead on directly to the images of the country's dotage, when old men in ugly suits presided over an empire of antiquated tractor factories before Gorbachev came along and accidentally put the whole thing out of its misery. The era when the place seemed to be in a state of confident, challenging, expansive maturity has fallen off our mental carousel.

It had been a reasonable assumption, for nervous western onlookers in the early 60s, that a society which launched satellites must also have solved simple everyday problems such as supplying lettuces and children's shoes. When it turned out that it wasn't so, that the Hemel Hempstead branch of Start-Rite would have represented unimaginable luxury in a Soviet city, the space rockets stopped signifying a general, enviable "high technology". They started looking like some pharaoh's pet project, a pyramid scraped together on the back of poverty, cruel and a bit ridiculous.

But the image of the USSR that the west briefly nurtured in the late 50s and early 60s was not a pure illusion. It was an exaggeration of something real; a report of a real confidence, a real feeling of success in Moscow which the west helped falsify by translating it into western terms and tricking it out with the west's expectations. Something really did go right or go well, then, for the Soviet Union, which we're in danger now of tidying away, like all episodes in history that point in a direction not taken and which therefore refuse to fit into the hindsighted narrative we make out of the past for our convenience. The truths learned later about the Soviet economy were quite real, of course. It did indeed prove to be wasteful rather than efficient, cack-handed instead of strategic, alarmingly incoherent rather than terrifyingly rational. But if we tell ourselves only a case-closed story of communism as an inevitable disaster we miss other parts of the past's reality and foreclose on the other stories it can tell us.

And when Soviet citizens went home from their pointless toil with their roubles in hand, they were then systematically disadvantaged as consumers. Soviet planners had done this deliberately at first, as a matter of strategy, to maximise the resources available for future investment, but under Khrushchev they tried to stop, and found they couldn't. The logic of the whole system compelled it. In a world where you'd get into trouble if you inconvenienced a factory waiting for its supply of widgets (so long as the factory had good enough connections), you could inconvenience a shopper looking for cheese with impunity, with no bad consequences at all. So the cheese, and the shopper, were always last on the list – an afterthought in an economy that was supposed to run entirely for human benefit

....

In turn the permanent state of shortage warped and deformed human relationships. The smooth impersonality of money-exchange in our society is so embedded that we take it absolutely for granted. If you've got the cash, you can have the thing. In the Soviet Union, having the cash was the mere beginning of the campaign to acquire the thing. Every transaction became personal, and not in a warm and fuzzy way. Since the scarce goods weren't rationed out by ability to pay, they were doled out in proportion to clout, influence, connections, ruthless calculations of mutual advantage. Soviet society was a tangled web of bullying, sycophancy, arm-twisting, back-scratching and emotional blackmail. Everyone made life as difficult as possible for those they dealt with, in order to be able to trade the easing of the difficulty for something else. You want a restaurant table, a dress, your phone repaired? Then find me some roofing felt, a Black Sea holiday, a private tutor for my son.

It's an interesting read, although I'm not sure that the writer anywhere successfully refutes the notion that the potential of the USSR was ever anything but an illusion. Also, I quite like this in the reader's comments:

And let us not forget that the extent to which my generation benefited from the existence of the USSR, in all its brutality and insanity.

As long as there was a possibility, however remote, that the Soviet model might actually succeed, as long as capitalism was terrified of the spread of communism, then the onus was on capitalism to outdo communism's economic and social model.

This actually favoured social-democratic solutions to the problems of the post-war period. Those solutions may be summarized as the post-war settlement, which brought enormous benefits in health, education, and living standards to the people of Western Europe, and the United States.

With the collapse of Communism, free market fundamentalism, which had been brewing since the seventies, seized its opportunity and became virtually the only game in town. The result has been a huge shift to the right, whose chickens are now coming home to roost.

The current assault in the US and in Europe on the last vestiges of the post-war settlement, the huge increases in inequality, the waste, the lunatic resource wars, the wholesale pollution, the barmy sacrifices being imposed on the working and middle classes by a tiny global elite, are just the beginning of really unpleasant times ahead.

History will look back at my generation in the West and say, in Harold McMillan's immortal words, "You never had it so good."

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Sorry if this has been posted, but I've been on my hols...

An interesting article from 7th Aug Guardian on the soviet dream.

Some quotes:

It's an interesting read, although I'm not sure that the writer anywhere successfully refutes the notion that the potential of the USSR was ever anything but an illusion. Also, I quite like this in the reader's comments:

"We pretend to work and they [state] pretend to pay us." some russian bloke or was it someone

working in the UK public sector.

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Imo the post-Stalin leaders lost control of the country. To the government bureaucracies who became the real power. The same thing is happening in Britain and quite a few other western nations today. Where leaders don't seem to change anything, and the bureaucracies grow and grow unhindered, strangling the nation.

Stalin had the will to power. He didn't take excuses and delays and people throwing monkey wrenches in his plans. He dealt with the people who stood in his way - which any real decision a leader makes, special interest people will fight it. Want to build a hydro-electric plant to produce cheap power? The people who make the expensive power will fight you. After Stalin dealt with a few of them ruthlessly the others fell in line.. and even then he had to constantly face opposition within the bureaucracy and constantly set examples.

The later leaders were not willing to do that. So they would give some big plan and it would sort of get lost and fizzle out after a few years. With no consequences to those who failed.

Compare that to modern China and their Stalinist like leaders. Where incredible projects are being finished ahead of schedule and under budget. Its a powerful system when the person who led that project then gets a promotion to an even higher level.

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Imo the post-Stalin leaders lost control of the country. To the government bureaucracies who became the real power. The same thing is happening in Britain and quite a few other western nations today. Where leaders don't seem to change anything, and the bureaucracies grow and grow unhindered, strangling the nation.

Stalin had the will to power. He didn't take excuses and delays and people throwing monkey wrenches in his plans. He dealt with the people who stood in his way - which any real decision a leader makes, special interest people will fight it. Want to build a hydro-electric plant to produce cheap power? The people who make the expensive power will fight you. After Stalin dealt with a few of them ruthlessly the others fell in line.. and even then he had to constantly face opposition within the bureaucracy and constantly set examples.

The later leaders were not willing to do that. So they would give some big plan and it would sort of get lost and fizzle out after a few years. With no consequences to those who failed.

Compare that to modern China and their Stalinist like leaders. Where incredible projects are being finished ahead of schedule and under budget. Its a powerful system when the person who led that project then gets a promotion to an even higher level.

O dear god!

Stalin certainly knew how to deal with people who stood in his way, by the tens of millions. Denigrating his successors, who did not starve and slaughter their enemies, is kind of ... perverse.

I am very happy for all those local tyrants in China making their way to the top of the debt bubble.

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O dear god!

Stalin certainly knew how to deal with people who stood in his way, by the tens of millions. Denigrating his successors, who did not starve and slaughter their enemies, is kind of ... perverse.

I am very happy for all those local tyrants in China making their way to the top of the debt bubble.

Remember Russia was basically a feudal society when Stalin came to power. The feudal lords and their allies were not going to hand over the land, educate the peasants and give up their priviledges without doing everything in their power to fight it.

Anyone who went along to get along would not get anywhere. As the vested interests would stifle any reforms.

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Remember Russia was basically a feudal society when Stalin came to power.

No it wasn't.

The feudal lords and their allies were not going to hand over the land, educate the peasants and give up their priviledges without doing everything in their power to fight it.

For better or worse the "feudal lords" had been chased out of the country or were dispossessed. The revolution had given land to the peasants who worked it (which the Tsarist government had been doing more gradually anyway). The people who lost their land were the "Kulaks", successful peasant farmers - although with Stalin the definition often changed. Feudalism got reintroduced, but the new lords were the collective farm managers, who also managed to starve one of the most naturally fertile countries in the world.

Anyone who went along to get along would not get anywhere. As the vested interests would stifle any reforms.

The Bolsheviks had controlled the country for years by this time. There were no "feudal lords", White Russians or indeed alternate political parties. The only vested interests that counted were within the Communist Party, including that bank robber turned genocidal maniac and Hitler enabler, Uncle Joe.

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world.

oh f*ck off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droughts_and_famines_in_Russia_and_the_Soviet_Union

...

The second Soviet famine happened during the collectivisation in the USSR. In 1932-1933 confiscations of grain and other food by the Soviet authorities[2] caused a famine which affected more than 40 million people, especially in the south on the Don and Kuban areas and in Ukraine, where by various estimates from 5 to 10 million may have starved to death (the event known as Holodomor).[4] Estimates of deaths due to the 1932-1933 famine vary wildly, but are typically given in the range of millions.

...

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Sorry if this has been posted, but I've been on my hols...

An interesting article from 7th Aug Guardian on the soviet dream.

Some quotes:

It's an interesting read, although I'm not sure that the writer anywhere successfully refutes the notion that the potential of the USSR was ever anything but an illusion. Also, I quite like this in the reader's comments:

The readers comment hits the nail on the head.

Communism may have been a clunker for those behind the Iron Curtain but it put the sh*ts up western capitalists who like all rich people lived in fear that one day the poor (with Soviet backing) would rise up and take their money away. Therefore ironically the main beneficiaries of Communism were western workers who got better terms and conditions than they otherwise might have expected in order to keep them onside.

Edited by realcrookswearsuits

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In turn the permanent state of shortage warped and deformed human relationships. The smooth impersonality of money-exchange in our society is so embedded that we take it absolutely for granted. If you've got the cash, you can have the thing. In the Soviet Union, having the cash was the mere beginning of the campaign to acquire the thing. Every transaction became personal, and not in a warm and fuzzy way. Since the scarce goods weren't rationed out by ability to pay, they were doled out in proportion to clout, influence, connections, ruthless calculations of mutual advantage. Soviet society was a tangled web of bullying, sycophancy, arm-twisting, back-scratching and emotional blackmail. Everyone made life as difficult as possible for those they dealt with, in order to be able to trade the easing of the difficulty for something else. You want a restaurant table, a dress, your phone repaired? Then find me some roofing felt, a Black Sea holiday, a private tutor for my son.

while I agree that this is how it was in Soviet Russia when I was there, I don't think this attitude and way of relating can be said to have begun with the communists. Read Russian literature of the 19th century and you'll see a very similar transaction based way of relating. Perhaps communism accentuated it. "warped and deformed" are strong words too. It is a different way of relating, when it came to family for instance, things were different. Soviet friends of mine for instance were horrified by the idea that an adult child might officially pay rent to a parent when still living at home.

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Imo the post-Stalin leaders lost control of the country. To the government bureaucracies who became the real power. The same thing is happening in Britain and quite a few other western nations today. Where leaders don't seem to change anything, and the bureaucracies grow and grow unhindered, strangling the nation.

Stalin had the will to power. He didn't take excuses and delays and people throwing monkey wrenches in his plans. He dealt with the people who stood in his way - which any real decision a leader makes, special interest people will fight it. Want to build a hydro-electric plant to produce cheap power? The people who make the expensive power will fight you. After Stalin dealt with a few of them ruthlessly the others fell in line.. and even then he had to constantly face opposition within the bureaucracy and constantly set examples.

The later leaders were not willing to do that. So they would give some big plan and it would sort of get lost and fizzle out after a few years. With no consequences to those who failed.

Compare that to modern China and their Stalinist like leaders. Where incredible projects are being finished ahead of schedule and under budget. Its a powerful system when the person who led that project then gets a promotion to an even higher level.

Strangely, Stalin's "will to power" was also probably his greatest failing and the very thing that baked the failure of the Soviet system in the cake. He consistently failed to comprehend that there were other powers greater than that of his will as it manifested at a particular point, such as mother nature, how time changes situations, the choices of others.

Yes, Stalin got factories built, but the very same force that got those factories built also got them built in ludicrous places that made them pointless white elephants. Yes, Stalin ruthlessly eradicated his enemies, only to discover those enemies were the only barrier between him and something even more lethal to his survival.

China is doing much the same thing in many ways. Yes, they are forcing rapid economic expansion, but when the population's health begins to deteriorate because the levels of pollution are so astronomical in industrialised areas, then you have to ask whether this will to enforce will be, in fact, the source of its eventual suicide.

Russia and the Soviet satellites paid an enormous cost for what, ultimately, ended in not very much at all.

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Strangely, Stalin's "will to power" was also probably his greatest failing and the very thing that baked the failure of the Soviet system in the cake. He consistently failed to comprehend that there were other powers greater than that of his will as it manifested at a particular point, such as mother nature, how time changes situations, the choices of others.

Yes, Stalin got factories built, but the very same force that got those factories built also got them built in ludicrous places that made them pointless white elephants. Yes, Stalin ruthlessly eradicated his enemies, only to discover those enemies were the only barrier between him and something even more lethal to his survival.

China is doing much the same thing in many ways. Yes, they are forcing rapid economic expansion, but when the population's health begins to deteriorate because the levels of pollution are so astronomical in industrialised areas, then you have to ask whether this will to enforce will be, in fact, the source of its eventual suicide.

Russia and the Soviet satellites paid an enormous cost for what, ultimately, ended in not very much at all.

Some turned out to be white elephants, but most were pretty good. Same with China, there are some blatant examples of misallocation of capital, and sometimes China pessimists extrapolate this to think all of the investment is bad. Then they are surprised when China keeps growing.

Also if a Stalin level leader was in charge in the decades after Stalin died he could have re-located misplaced capital plant.

It is quite striking really... when Stalin died the Soviet Union was neck and neck with America in computing technology. Both pushing vaccuum tube technology. But by 1990 the Soviet Union was still using 1950's era vaccuum tubes!

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

I don't know the facts in this case. But I think Communism can either be a disaster or a miracle depending on the ability and moral compass of the leader. I think China today is a great example of Communism done properly, it has a good mix of Capitalism and Socialism in it. But most importantly I think the Chinese system is very efficient, only a 1% public sector workforce, a banking sector that exists primarily to help businesses, an entrepreneurial culture not held back by high taxes or elitist land controls.

Not everywhere is perfect, China sometimes steals farmers lands in the countryside in return for a token gift of a few houses on the land but that's no different to what any other country does.

Considering China's population problem I think the government could not have handled it any better, China's economy is so big anyone who wants a job can get one, anyone who doesn't want a job can just go back to the countryside and live off the land. Compared to the inefficient system in Britain where we have an artificially high cost of living, less job oppurtunities and a government who have to subsidize their own incompetence by giving out benefits to the unemployed.

The problem in China right now is the economic growth is slowing down but there are still more migrants coming from the countryside into the cities, also many students now go to university in order to compete for qualifications to get the jobs and these university students graduate with higher expectations but most will be let down.

There is a similar problem here in the UK, it seems like people are being encouraged to go to university as there are fewer job oppurtunities so the qualifications required for most jobs are increasing. When I started doing my A-levels it was heard of to go from A-levels into an office type job.

These days if you don't either go to university or do an apprenticeship you are almost guaranteed to have no more oppurtunities than the proles when coming out of education, then you will just lose out to a foreigner for any jobs you can apply for especially if you are white.

I think China is a more capitalistic country than Britain because of the lower costs of living, the reality of Britain is elite controlled Socialism. It's possible that there is no malice on part of the super rich as to our strife, but more that they never cared in the first place and our existence isn't of any concern to them.

Edited by Saberu

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

You are Walter Duranty and I claim my 5 roubles.

Are you seriously suggesting the USSR grew more than the US in 1920-55? Stalin's farm collectivisation alone killed ~20million. Then there's the purges, White Sea Canal, The Gulag...

http://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Sorrow-Soviet-Collectivization-Terror-Famine/dp/0195051807

Edited by dryrot

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Yes, if you treat your own people like slaves and kill them in almost same numbers as Nazis then maybe ...

In some countries presenting your ideas would be illegal ... they know why ...

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I don't know the facts in this case. But I think Communism can either be a disaster or a miracle depending on the ability and moral compass of the leader. I think China today is a great example of Communism done properly, it has a good mix of Capitalism and Socialism in it. But most importantly I think the Chinese system is very efficient, only a 1% public sector workforce, a banking sector that exists primarily to help businesses, an entrepreneurial culture not held back by high taxes or elitist land controls.

You are a dangerous mad man .... please stop posting your disgusting opinions in the sake of millions killed by Communists!

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Fastest growing Industrial power? Thought US was responsible for 50% of world output by 1945. Russia did make significant progress during the period, mainly due to increase of labour force input by involving the women into the labour force and educating a large number of people.

Mind you that even North Korea can have a few success (it is now a nuclear power), by concentrating resources on a few areas at huge cost to everybody else.

Also, without Western supplies Russia would not have won the war. The real power during WW2 is none but the United States of America. Without US involvement, Germany and Japan would have won the war.

Stalin had the will to power. He didn't take excuses and delays and people throwing monkey wrenches in his plans. He dealt with the people who stood in his way - which any real decision a leader makes, special interest people will fight it. Want to build a hydro-electric plant to produce cheap power? The people who make the expensive power will fight you. After Stalin dealt with a few of them ruthlessly the others fell in line.. and even then he had to constantly face opposition within the bureaucracy and constantly set examples.

That is true. But thought Stalin was also one with 'special interest', except that his special interest was backed by guns.

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I don't know the facts in this case. But I think Communism can either be a disaster or a miracle depending on the ability and moral compass of the leader. I think China today is a great example of Communism done properly, it has a good mix of Capitalism and Socialism in it. But most importantly I think the Chinese system is very efficient, only a 1% public sector workforce, a banking sector that exists primarily to help businesses, an entrepreneurial culture not held back by high taxes or elitist land controls.

I kind of agree but as far as I look, I can't seem to see a selfless leader with great wisdom with very high moral. China is in reality a capitalistic country, more capitalistic than UK or US. I don't see many aspect of 'socialism' in China nowadays, other than slogans.

1% public sector workforce? China has multi level of bureaucracies and lots of state linked enterprises. Its banking sector mainly lend to those who are well connected and I thought most land are controlled by state linked bodies and enterprises.

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Also, without Western supplies Russia would not have won the war. The real power during WW2 is none but the United States of America. Without US involvement, Germany and Japan would have won the war.

Perhaps. But remember that nearly 90% of the entire German army was destroyed on the Eastern Front and the losses suffered by Russia were absolutely enormous (putting those suffered by the US and anyone else into insignificance).

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Communism worked under Stalin. If you look from 1920-1955 the Soviet Union was the fastest growing economy in the world. And took a nation of superstitious, rural peasants into an industrial superpower. With real increases in standard of living in so many areas. They also fought and won the biggest war ever against a very capable enemy in Germany during those years.

Imo the post-Stalin leaders lost control of the country. To the government bureaucracies who became the real power. The same thing is happening in Britain and quite a few other western nations today. Where leaders don't seem to change anything, and the bureaucracies grow and grow unhindered, strangling the nation.

Stalin had the will to power. He didn't take excuses and delays and people throwing monkey wrenches in his plans. He dealt with the people who stood in his way - which any real decision a leader makes, special interest people will fight it. Want to build a hydro-electric plant to produce cheap power? The people who make the expensive power will fight you. After Stalin dealt with a few of them ruthlessly the others fell in line.. and even then he had to constantly face opposition within the bureaucracy and constantly set examples.

The later leaders were not willing to do that. So they would give some big plan and it would sort of get lost and fizzle out after a few years. With no consequences to those who failed.

Compare that to modern China and their Stalinist like leaders. Where incredible projects are being finished ahead of schedule and under budget. Its a powerful system when the person who led that project then gets a promotion to an even higher level.

Try 30 million.

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You are a dangerous mad man .... please stop posting your disgusting opinions in the sake of millions killed by Communists!

Maybe we need a Austerian economic ideologically inclined monarch?

Tied to a written new constitution.

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There are a myriad reasons for the collapse which have nothing to do with communism at all.

One could mention the sheer cost of the regions and satellites. I think even today, in the new, slimmed down Federation, only a handful are able to pay taxes to the centre,

Then there was the focus on rustbelt and defence industries. Many consumer goods were produced in armaments factories, in a disinterested fashion during periods of spare capacity. Hence the thousands of pairs of sunglasses you couldn't actually see through or the television sets that were a fire hazard. (In the early days, many Muscovites kept a bucket of sand next the telly.) On the other hand, Russia could lead the world in metallurgical skills and aerospace.

The constant threat from the West - certainly real - prevented much diversification. Soviet cameras, for example, were developed primarily for military use rather than for consumers or professional graphics, The famous panoramic cameras were developed originally to monitor the effects of an artillery barrage.

Westen aggression bankrupted Russia more than any internal policies and, sadly, it wasn't simply paranoia on Stalin's part. You only have to look at the asset stripping of Russia during the Yeltsin era, the current encirclement of Russia by NATO - Rumsfeld's 'Lilypad of Bases', or the 'coloured revolutions', fuelled and financed entirely by the CIA to destabilise Russia.

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Communism may have been a clunker for those behind the Iron Curtain but it put the sh*ts up western capitalists who like all rich people lived in fear that one day the poor (with Soviet backing) would rise up and take their money away. Therefore ironically the main beneficiaries of Communism were western workers who got better terms and conditions than they otherwise might have expected in order to keep them onside.

Yep- there's no longer a need to demonstrate that capitalism is the best choice for the common man. What you see happening in the US and UK at present is the slowly dawning realisation that the free market is not the perfect engine of wealth and opportunity for all that it's advertised to be- freed from the need to win the ideological war with the soviets, the western oligarchs are far more relaxed about grabbing an ever larger share of the economic pie, despite the fact that the neo libral curtain behind which they operate is looking distinctly threadbare these days.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the US when the people there finally wake up from the 'american dream' to the realisation that their jobs have been offshored, their wealth and assets stripped and their liberty designed out by terrorist legislation and hi tech surveillance.

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Yep- there's no longer a need to demonstrate that capitalism is the best choice for the common man. What you see happening in the US and UK at present is the slowly dawning realisation that the free market is not the perfect engine of wealth and opportunity for all that it's advertised to be- freed from the need to win the ideological war with the soviets, the western oligarchs are far more relaxed about grabbing an ever larger share of the economic pie, despite the fact that the neo libral curtain behind which they operate is looking distinctly threadbare these days.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the US when the people there finally wake up from the 'american dream' to the realisation that their jobs have been offshored, their wealth and assets stripped and their liberty designed out by terrorist legislation and hi tech surveillance.

All that's been done by the state, mate.

All the economic problems in the west are due to collectivism and communist ideas - central banking, mass education, the fantasy that you can legislate wealth etc.

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The Soviets made Russia a great and powerful nation that hung over Europe and frightened the Americans but at horrific costs, Stalin was second only to Hitler as a selfish and destructive leader, though the quality of life in the Soviet Union was more consistant that what it was under the Tsar and what is now under the Oligarchs, with their economic policies that are arguably more destructive than Stalin's worst economic decisions (a valuable St. Petersberg seed bank is going to be demolished).

There were deadly famines in the Ukraine and in China under Communist rule, but there were also famines under the Tsar when most people under Russian rule were serfs and there were similarily awful famines under British ruled India who were running things along free market lines. Ireland was starving when it was exporting food and there wasn't a commie in sight. That's why very mixed, stable economies and relatively gentle, though paternal democratic governments make the happiest societies, not fanatical dictatorships and incompetent monarchies and greedy corporations and distant colonial rulers.

Edited by Big Orange

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Yep- there's no longer a need to demonstrate that capitalism is the best choice for the common man. What you see happening in the US and UK at present is the slowly dawning realisation that the free market is not the perfect engine of wealth and opportunity for all that it's advertised to be- freed from the need to win the ideological war with the soviets, the western oligarchs are far more relaxed about grabbing an ever larger share of the economic pie, despite the fact that the neo libral curtain behind which they operate is looking distinctly threadbare these days.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the US when the people there finally wake up from the 'american dream' to the realisation that their jobs have been offshored, their wealth and assets stripped and their liberty designed out by terrorist legislation and hi tech surveillance.

Isn't that a "State" thing?

More trying to argue that freedom of choice is a bad thing?

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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