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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: Economist]
    #7241896 - 07/31/07 12:01 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:


In my view they collapsed simply because there is no solution to the Economic Calculation Problem. In most capitalist economies it's easy to tell who needs/wants what. Goods in demand have high prices and over-produced goods have low prices.





This does not explain the collapse or the history of the USSR really. If you look at the history of the economy of the Soviet Union, it was developing at an extraordinary rate (percentage-wise) compared to say, the US, even though this is in terms of percentage and obviously not overall GDP. From the 1930s until the 1960s, economic planning made the USSR a world power and its economy developed at a greater rate than most free-market nations until the stagnation set in.

Would it truly take 40 years for the Economic Calculation problem to create stagnation in the Soviet economy? And is it just a coincidence that the USSR collapsed at the same time as its rulers tried to liberalize it with Glasnost and Perestroika?

It seems to me that with the new openness of society at the end of the USSR, when people began realizing the atrocities their government had committed after some of the propaganda had been lifted from their eyes, the politically active segment of the population decided it was time for change. I do not think economic planning is necessarily doomed to failure; I cannot explain, however, the immense growth of the USSR during some of its history, or the stagnation preceding the decades before its collapse. It seems when the most economic planning and centralization was occuring during World War II and in the decades following it that the USSR also had its greatest economic growth.


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OfflineEconomist
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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: Ravus]
    #7242029 - 07/31/07 12:44 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Ravus, I think there are two primary problems with the "but the USSR saw huge GDP growth in the early years!" argument.

The first is the idea that capitalism ruled in Russia before communism. It did not. The Tsars stifled nearly all economic activities. The transition from serfdom in 1861 was poorly planned, resulting in peasants becoming unable to support themselves, and land was reapportioned in a way that result in ever-dropping grain production. When a finance minister (notably Witte) was somewhat successful in stimulating industrial growth, he was viewed as a threat to the power of the Tsars and was transferred to a no-power position.

The state also maintained control of key infrastructure development, notably the railroads, which in the US were built by private corporations. As a result, the trans-siberian railroad was completed for military, rather than industrial purposes, and trade with Europe was forced to take place mostly by sea.

After such horrible mismanagement it would be hard not to see GDP growth.

But that's only the first part of the problem. The next deals with what GDP measures, which is simply output and not useful output.

This is why the idea of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) is used in conjunction with GDP measures. In terms of PPP, there is no question that the Soviet Union had fallen WAY behind the US (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP) ). This makes sense, as the Soviet Union was good at producing entirely too many guns, bullets, and tanks, but not so good at producing wheat (which it actually had to import from the US) and other consumer goods.

As I have already posted an example of, the Soviet Union is littered with relics of gross mismanagement, railroads to nowhere, factories that cost more to run than they produced, dozens of anecdotes about breadlines, etc.

It certainly did not take 40 years for the Economic Calculation Problem to cause stagnation in the Soviet Economy, most of the stagnation was already observable by the 1970s. What took 40 years of complete and total economic collapse.

As for the post-WWII growth, also keep in mind that merely rebuilding from the war would cause massive year-on-year growth numbers, it's when you make global comparisons that the truth comes out. In 1950 the Soviet Union barely produced more than the UK (in PPP terms). By the 1970s it was less than half as productive as the US, and had been outpaced by Japan, a country with half the Soviet Population.

Also, keep in mind that "openness" had nothing to do with free speach and everything to to with trade and economics. The system collapsed when it was confronted with genuine competition through trade, whereas most of the "facts" about Soviet Atrocities have still yet to surface.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: Economist]
    #7242096 - 07/31/07 01:04 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Also, keep in mind that "openness" had nothing to do with free speach and everything to to with trade and economics. The system collapsed when it was confronted with genuine competition through trade, whereas most of the "facts" about Soviet Atrocities have still yet to surface.




I think you underestimate the effects of Glasnost upon Soviet society. Openness had a great deal to do with free speech, and it was this free speech that inevitabily contributed, if not lead to, the collapse of communism in the USSR. If the USSR was already economically decaying by the beginning of its stagnation in the 1970s, and if the dissolution of the USSR was mostly caused by its economics and not by its repression of nationalism and non-communist ideologies, then why was it not until 1991 that the USSR fully came to an end? While the USSR had a great deal of problems, and may have inevitably collapsed anyway, the social reforms instituted by Gorbachev and their unintended effects did in fact lead to the dissolution of the USSR, not only economic problems which had existed for decades prior.

Quote:

Glasnost initially allowed only the divulgence of information by the state. Gorbachev held that if the Soviet Union was more open and honest about its past, then Soviet and Eastern European citizens would be more likely to follow Gorbachev's economic lead. Even a large number of bureaucrats in the KGB supported glasnost. The KGB's information network had become burdened and as ineffective as the bureaucracy that it supported. Therefore, many KGB officials assumed that fostering an atmosphere of openness would result in new and better informants.

Although Gorbachev intended glasnost to strengthen the communist regime, he did not initiate a crack-down when Soviet citizens went beyond the original intent of glasnost. Soviet intellectuals began questioning the very tenets of Soviet Communism and attacked the Communist Party in newspapers, journals, film, and books. Eastern European thinkers followed the lead of their Soviet counterparts.

Consequently, glasnost had the unintended effect of spurring nationalist and anti-communist movements in Eastern Europe and the Soviet republics. Dissidents in Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and other Soviet-satellite states staged labor demonstrations. Citizens took to the streets, demanding that the Communist Party step aside and allow democratic elections. In fall 1989, the Berlin Wall, long a symbol of the division between Eastern Europe and the world, fell, allowing East and West Berliners to cross freely. The Communist Party and its East Germany secret police organization, the Stasi, had lost power. Within months of the fall of the Berlin Wall, other Eastern European countries broke away from Moscow's influence and expelled their communist leaders. With the exception of Romania, most of the revolutions of 1989 and early 1990 were relatively peaceful.

In the wake of the Eastern European revolts and the euphoria that followed, the Soviet Union had little choice but to allow greater freedoms. In February, 1990, the Communist Party agreed to relinquish its political monopoly. Many of the civic groups that had been voicing displeasure with the Soviet system formed political parties. Most of these new parties, especially those outside of Russia had a nationalist agenda. Within a month, the Baltic republic of Lithuania declared itself an independent state. Other Soviet republics quickly followed.

In June 1991, Gorbachev allowed free elections to choose a president of the Russian Republic. Boris Yeltsin, a former Gorbachev-supporter, won a landslide victory over Gorbachev's chosen candidate. In August, 1991, a group of communists hardliners attempted a poorly organized coup while Gorbachev was on vacation at the Black Sea. The coup failed, and strengthened Boris Yeltsin, the primary target of the coup. The coup also undermined the leadership of Gorbachev, who continued to govern ineffectively until his resignation on December 25, 1991. The following day, the Supreme Soviet officially declared an end to the Soviet Union.



http://www.espionageinfo.com/Co-Cop/Cold-War-1972-1989-the-Collapse-of-the-Soviet-Union.html

Of course, it seems to me the Soviet Union had no choice, in part because of its economics. It takes a great deal of money to support a police state, and by the 1980s the USSR did not have the money. But the economic situation was only one contributing factor of many that led to the USSR's inability to control people's speech and politics, which is what finally turned the USSR into 15 separate nations.


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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: The_Red_Crayon]
    #7242144 - 07/31/07 01:17 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

The_Red_Crayon said:
Its a tough decision to see what will happen, but their is a great deal of weaponization in the greater middle eastern region, it could become a powderkeg.

Everything else seems logical, and I try to be openminded.

Whats your opinion on Mexico?




I agree with your prediction. We already saw a coup nearly take place during Mexico's elections last summer, so an acutal uprising cannot be far off.

The difference is that I'm just not that bothered. Every period of massive immigration to the US has actually resulted in greater economic benefit to the US, so I'm in favor of throwing the borders wide open.

I understand the whole "but we'd be overwhelmed" argument, but I just don't agree. The fact of the matter is that the US is most likely assimilating up to 2 million illegal aliens every year, and we're so good at absorbing them we barely notice its going on. The only real difference will be that we notice one big wave, and then the benefits of additional workers will begin to rain down.

If 10 million Mexicans really did walk in tomorrow, we'd only be hurt by it if we did something stupid (like attempt to feed and clothe them for free), in which case we'd actually have to blame our own socialist tendancies and not the migration itself.


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OfflineThe_Red_Crayon
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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: Economist]
    #7244276 - 07/31/07 04:08 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

The problem with illegal immigration is their is no way of checking who is going through, how do we know that Al Qaeda isnt smuggling weapons through, if they can traffik humans and tons of drugs then why not weapons components or sleeper agents.

The other issue is that we dont know "exactly" how many illegal immigrants are even in this country since we cant exactly census poll them, the other thing is they are a drain on healthcare since most dont own insurance, since their employers pay them under the table, not to mention collect their employers clientelle database (i've worked with illegals).

Illegal immigrants arent playing for team america, their playing for team mexico,


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Offlinekotik
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Re: Poll shows more than 50 percent of Russian youths admire Josef Stalin [Re: The_Red_Crayon]
    #7244477 - 07/31/07 05:30 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

i wonder what percentage of american youths even know who Josef Stalin is. That's the real scary thing.


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