sent off a link to what I thought was a germane and relevant piece to
our local communist party:
Sarah Palin explains the collapse of the Soviet Union by attributing it
to the expenditures they made on the "space race."
I'm perfectly happy to go with the explanation that the Soviet Union
did not have a proper system set up along appropriate Marxist-Leninist
lines, but I've never accepted the conservative belief that Soviet
spending on countering Reagan's missile defense system had anything to
do with their collapse.
Ken Heard responds:
Have always had a problem statement of the
"Soviet Union did not have a proper system set up along appropriate
Besides being an ahistorical
statement, we have to really sit down and study the Soviet economic
system and see what there was on-going before we could make that a
viable explanation. It may be correct, but may also be very
incorrect, especially from what we know now of the western incursion
into Soviet structures. But that is for another explanation.
Usually it is stated by the right that:
"Reagan brought about the fall of the
out spending them on weapons of war, thus bankrupting their
"The Carter-Reagan military buildup did not defeat the Soviet
Union. On the
contrary, it prolonged the Cold War. Gorbachev's
economy crippled in part by defense spending urged by special
far more by structural rigidities,
persistent search for an
accommodation with the West. That persistence, not SDI, ended the Cold
But the structural
rigidities argument must also be refuted and rejected.
(See below the counterfit situation in the USSR.)
But this statement has been a basis of peace
movement thinking for more than two score of years.
Have discussed this with Phyllis Gilbert back in the 1990s an she had
heard the same dis-information, but she couldn't remember who had told
her this tale.
We had an investigation made of United States government information on
this situation of the possibility of the military spending being the
cause of the defeat of the socialist system in the Soviet Union and
found to our surprise that the CIA had made reference to the Soviet
budget as having a surplus in the year of the dismantling of socialism
in the Soviet.
Also, there were a set of articles on the Soviet as the votes were
taken of the populaces of the Soviets rejected the demise of socialism,
and found (with maps) that there was a surplus in the far eastern
republics of the Soviets as well.
Most interestingly was the Commerce Departments figures of that time
that stated that there was a surplus in the Soviets entirely.
Strangely, haven't been able to locate those last figures on the
internet for some time since that first investigation of the US
Commerce Department figures.
Most interestingly were statements of the time from the US military
that the Soviet was getting about two to three times as much actual
armaments for each "dollar spent" than the United States of that time.
Everything about the Soviet military
that we can gain from the west was an estimate of the western areas
and the west could not get the figures as they were all estimates on
the part of the west, especially
since the Soviet Union based its accounting on weight and pieces as
opposed to the western accounting system of "labor power expression"
(dollars, marks, francs, etc.)
Which led to the really interesting revelation that there was a
reason for the inclusion of counterfeit currency into the Soviet
structure by western forces attempting to overthrow the Soviets in the
1991 era. The real check as the problem of the Soviet structural
overthrow can be found in the situation of one Internal Affairs
Pugo, who had made statements to the effect that the counterfeit
problem had come to a head shortly before he was found dead.
"On the morning of 22 August Pugo was arrested in his office. Pugo and
his wife committed suicide on 23 August."
So there we have it.
Check the following links for further data:
One author some time ago wrote on the 1970s USSR "Law of Indivudual
Labor" as the major instrument in the demise and defeat of the Soviet
structure, so there are a number of dieration to move in to gwet
to the essence of this situation of the absence of the USSR presently.
A full discussion of the USSR will not get to our problems to be
approached here in the United States.
Lets take more time on those problems here, we need the Socialist
solutions here, and maybe, even a Soviet solution or two.
In Love and Struggle
Onward to Socialism!!!
From Russia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of
[Rich's commentary: It's important to keep in mind, while reading this
account, that the reason the American North and South went to war in
1861 was because the agrarian economy of the South was economically
incompatible with the industrial economy of the North (Slavery, was of
course, the ultimate cause of the war because without slavery, the Sout
could not have maintained an agrarian economy). Likewise, the
centralized, communist economy of the Soviet Union, simply couldn't
survive alongside the capitalist economy of the West.]
Reform and Resistance
During several distinct periods, Soviet leaders attempted to reform
the economy to make the Soviet system more efficient. In 1957, for
example, Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) tried to decentralize
state control by eliminating many national ministries and placing
responsibility for implementing plans under the control of newly
created regional economic councils. These reforms produced their own
inefficiencies. In 1965 Soviet prime minister Aleksey Kosygin (in
office 1964-80) introduced a package of reforms that reestablished
central government control but reformed prices and established new
bonuses and production norms to stimulate economic productivity. Under
reforms in the 1970s, Soviet leaders attempted to streamline the
decision-making process by combining enterprises into associations,
which received some localized decision-making authority.
Because none of these reforms challenged the fundamental notion of
state control, the root cause of the inefficiencies remained.
Resistance to reform was strong because central planning was heavily
embedded in the Soviet economic structure. Its various
elements--planned output, state ownership of property, administrative
pricing, artificially established wage levels, and currency
inconvertibility--were interrelated. Fundamental reforms required
changing the whole system rather than one or two elements. Central
planning also was heavily entrenched in the Soviet political structure.
A huge bureaucracy was in place from the national to the local level in
both the party and the government, and officials within that system
enjoyed the many privileges of the Soviet elite class. Such vested
interests yielded formidable resistance to major changes in the Soviet
economic system; the Russian system, in which many of the same figures
have prospered, suffers from the same handicap.
Although they were bold in the context of Soviet history,
Gorbachev's attempts at economic reform were not radical enough to
restart the country's chronically sluggish economy in the late 1980s.
The reforms made some inroads in decentralization, but Gorbachev and
his team left intact most of the fundamental elements of the Stalinist
system--price controls, inconvertibility of the ruble, exclusion of
private property ownership, and the government monopoly over most means
Gorbachev's new system bore the characteristics of neither central
planning nor a market economy. Instead, the Soviet economy went from
stagnation to deterioration. At the end of 1991, when the union
officially dissolved, the national economy was in a virtual tailspin.
In 1991 the Soviet GDP had declined 17 percent and was declining at an
accelerating rate. Overt inflation was becoming a major problem.
Between 1990 and 1991, retail prices in the Soviet Union increased 140
Reagan's 30-Year Time Bombs by Robert Parry
However, a strong case can be made that the Cold War was won well
before Reagan arrived in the White House. Indeed, in the 1970s, it was
a common perception in the U.S. intelligence community that the Cold
War between the United States and the Soviet Union was winding down,
largely because the Soviet economic model had lost the technological
race with the West.
That was the view of many Kremlinologists in the CIA’s analytical
division. Also, I was told by a senior CIA’s operations official that
some of the CIA’s best spies inside the Soviet hierarchy supported the
view that the Soviet Union was headed toward collapse, not surging
toward world supremacy, as Reagan and his foreign policy team insisted
in the early 1980s.