There are so many misconceptions about communism.  Perhaps the worst is believing the expansion of welfare systems to automagically lead to planned economy.  This has never happened in real life.  If the general population has a real influence on of which ones are going to rule anything such will be stopped.  A government going one step too far towards planned economy would simply loss the next election.  Which is exactly what happened here in Sweden in 1976.  Consequentially, a country has to first become a dictatorship before becoming a planned economy.

Communism as an ideology has its origin in misdirected admiration.  This primarily happened to Karl Marx, but his collaborator Friedrich Engels too.  They were right about the conflicting goals between employers and employees.  However, their thoughts about the development of societies probably had more to do with their way of thinking.  There was almost no historical information on this when they wrote their famous works.  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were among the first to ask about it.  Before that, changes in standard of living had been treated as negligible.

When Karl Marx imagined a communist society, he imagined something being pretty far into the future.  Automation would have to come so far that manual labour would not be needed.  But his admirers misunderstood his idea as practicable in their lifetime.  Other thoughts about the development of societies were treated as eternal truths.  This despite increased documentation of what happened to different societies.  His admirers seem to have lived in denial about this.  Karl Marx knew about the early stages of his admirer’s misinterpretations.  Towards the end of his life, he stated that he was not a communist.  I think he was disappointed at what his admirers had become.

The admirers I am referring to mostly belonged to the lower middle class.  They had enough economic resources for their children not having to be exploited as manual labour all the time.  At the same time they lacked the economic resources for large scale economic exploitation.  These admirers thought they were representative for the lower classes in general.  Fixation at the “working class” lead to them embracing everything associated with it.  This included things too, which the admired has criticised as dehumanising.  So much for the dream of the “worker’s paradise”.

The first communist state was the Soviet Union.  At the outbreak of World War I Russia was in early industrialisation.  Otherwise, the country was mostly feudal and was led by and emperor (czar in Russian).  This country could not defend itself against the German and Austrian-Hungarian invasion.  This failur triggered the Russian revolution which was a spontaneous popular uprising.  About eight months later it was kidnaped by communists.  Nobles tried to stop the communists which resulted in civil war.  (The emperor and his nuclear family were shot to death.)  Despite support from several other countries the former upper class lost the civil war.  The communists sized control over the country except for some areas in the west which instead become independent ones.  This way the Soviet Union formed with Russia as the dominating state.

The Soviet regime tried to size total control over the entire country’s economy.  Civil servants took over as employers in the belief it was the best for everyone.  Factories were built with machines which were imported from the Western World.  However, their methods of central control worked as perverse incentive.  This only got worse by supply and demand being treated as natural constants.  That is, something which just exist independently of humanity.  The result was a society which was incapable of providing its population with the strict necessities of life.  In an attempt to get rid of greed they unintentionally created a society where greed was a survival advantage.

After Wold War II the Soviet Union came to occupy several European countries.  In addition to parts of Germany these were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania.  All of these countries were forced into planned economy as I have described above.  Yugoslavia got under communist rule at the same time too.  But this was because the country’s resistance movement came to be led by communists.  When Albania later broke lose its regime still kept the planned economy.  Anyway, the communists conquered counties which had often already industrialised.  This enabled a higher standard of living than the Soviet Union had.  In particular this applies to Yugoslavia where some degree of competition was allowed.  However, all had a noticeably lower standard of living than the countries of Western Europe.

Such societies don’t last forever as the communist regimes imagined.  Sooner or later enough people realise that the system will not allow them to improve their lives.  Then it is just a matter of time before such regimes fall.  All these regimes also fell in 1989 – 91.  The Soviet Union survived for a longer time because it was one of the winners of World War II.  This gave the communists a prestige which they would not have got otherwise.  Which in turn increased the regime’s lifetime by approximately 25 years.

In contrast, China got under communist rule independently of the Soviet Union.  The communists won the last turn of Chinese civil wars.  (This country has descended into civil war several times throughout history.)  If I understand it correctly, they then took over an agrarian society.  China’s communist regime has been called the world’s largest cargo cult.  It tried to order a multiplying of production of different goods in just a few years.  Either it spent no thought of how that would be done.  Or it lacked ability to carry out any mechanisation.  The population had their strict necessities of life seized to fill the government’s storages.  Tens of millions died from hardship to create an illusion of production rise.  This is the largest manmade famine that historians know about.  However, the regime does not seem to have cared.

The great Chinese famine was over in just in a couple of years.  But the standard of living does not seem to have risen much until the 90ies.  The regime then started to reform the economy to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union.  Privately owned companies were now allowed as well as competition between them.  Such reforms made it possible for people to improve their lives.  The question is just how long the Chinese regime will survive.  The country’s population has already started to shrink because a too small part of it consists of women of fertile age.  There is a risk of large defiance in manpower before the country gets rich.  Which it is still not.

Other communist regimes were (or are) no better.  Their founders seem to have imitated ideas from Karl Marx’ and Friedrich Engels’ admirers.  This without understanding the concept of society making progress.  The different needs of women and children they spent no thought at.  The attitudes towards ethnic minorities may have even gotten worse.  These minorities are associated with characteristics opposite to communism.  One may wonder why people with such attitudes were attracted to communism at all.  My best explanation is them expecting their country to benefit from what they adopted.

All communist regimes came to power more or less through violence.  I think this is in practice the only way for them to come to power.  Planned economy is doomed to fail from start.  However, the founders could not imagine that their own methods would not work.  So when things did not go as intended they instead imagined it was due to sabotage.  Communist regimes have spent large resources on finding and punishing scapegoats.  Loads of people have been tangibly punished for crimes which never took place.

All this does not mean I advocate an only market economy.  In a too pure such people die because they can’t afford the strict necessities of life.  This is not the least better than to die because they society lacks the means to create sufficient resources.  Consequentially, I advocate a mixed economy.  This is about lifting the poorest from what would otherwise have been a state of misery.  The existence of this state of misery is unknown to individuals which are against welfare.


Uploaded on the 15th of November 2023.