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Dengist-Khruschevite Communist Roaders

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Post 14 Nov 2018, 04:40
I've been studying Eastern Bloc economics as well as the modern economy of China and I find that there are important overlaps. While the books I've read in the past, kinda presented China as a Milton Friedman paradise ruled by a Communist Party, the more recent books, especially since the rise of Xi Jinping, have much more emphasized the state aspects, the visible hand of the central govt, and the importance of SOEs. Sino is more than Socialist In Name Only.

Likewise I've also seen the more market aspects of the Eastern Bloc, like Poland never really had collectivized agriculture, and Hungary was the real initiator of the socialist market economy in the 1960s. A book on PRC views of USSR, showed how Hungary and Yugoslavia provided the model for the Dengist reforms. A lot of the market reforms of the PRC that are still going on today, revolve around how to force SOEs to have hard rather than soft budget constraints. And these are problems the USSR was dealing with in the 1960s.

So while Dengism is usually seen as a break with the Eastern Bloc economy, in many ways it follows a lot of the same broad outlines of the post-Stalin bloc, which Mao recognized in grouping them together. But given that the Eastern Bloc is often seen as proof of the failure of state socialism, then modern China can be seen as an example of its success. Eastern Europe was very much integrated into (and in debt to) the western financial system, and many attribute this debt influence to its collapse. The harsh austerity often attributed to Ceausescu, has more to do with being a responsible capitalist debtor than with stalinism.

And I was just toying with an alternative history in my head, of the unstoppable Communist Juggernaut that could have been, if you had unified the Brezhnevite Empire of 1980 with the booming Chinese tiger economy of today. This would not mean the abandonment of socialism. But the PRC following the lines of Kadarist Hungary, which was very much of the Eastern Bloc. A 20 year headstart on the growth of the Reform period, taking place concurrently with the other Asian Tigers. Maybe a Nixon goes to China moment in the 1950s instead of 1970s.


A 1970s Communist bloc that unified the Brezhnev Empire with the economic powerhouse of Xi's China could have been an unstoppable juggernaut.
Post 06 Jan 2019, 11:22
You make an incisive point about the Romanian economy and how it was in hoc to Western capitalism. It is worth noting that Romania, which was really the only country in the Eastern Bloc that actually had a true popular uprising in 1989, was also the one most in hoc to the Western financial system, which is ironic when one considers the media narrative of the counterrevolutions of 1989-91. I was recently reading that only 25% of Romanians believe that their fortunes improved after the restoration of capitalism.

Different socialist states in Eastern Europe pursued different economic models, and I think the GDR's model of State control of key industries combined with a strong co-operative sector, especially in agriculture, is the most interesting, allowing as it did for the grip of the State to be relaxed but without ceding to private ownership, which was the path taken by the PRC.

Even when the PRC was still socialist, the geopolitical divide between it and the Warsaw Pact states scuppered the chance of a common front against imperialism. Mao's hatred of the USSR outstripped any commitment to socialism to such an extent that he is recorded as having welcomed accession to power of right-wing parties in the West who would be tougher on Communism.
Post 06 Jan 2019, 18:43
Yes I suppose even though I still consider myself an admirer of Mao in many ways; I suppose this alternative history speculation is more along the lines if the Liu-Deng-Peng line had won out; of pragmatic economics and a Soviet-leaning independent foreign policy say like Romania or even post-1955 Yugoslavia. Would it have been better in geopolitical terms for the global communist cause?
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