What exactly caused it to fall apart?
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BWF89:What exactly caused it to fall apart?
What exactly do you mean? Is the Soviet Union really that different from Russia today?
reidbump: BWF89:What exactly caused it to fall apart? What exactly do you mean? Is the Soviet Union really that different from Russia today?
Yes. Its shed many provinces and the Warsaw Pact is dissolved.
Plus, I find the trend of labeling present day Russia as no different than the USSR absurd. Russia today has no far reaching imperial interests(though I believe the USSRs imperial interests were much more benign and defensive than the USAs ever were)
JonBostwick:Yes. Its shed many provinces and the Warsaw Pact is dissolved.
I understand that, I was referring more to the system of government and economic policies espoused by both Russia and the USSR.
JonBostwick:Russia today has no far reaching imperial interests
I disagree. Russia has imperial interests, it is just approaching those interests differently. Russia has become a power player due to its large oil reserves and it is using oil to further its interests. Remember when Russia turned off the taps to Europe a couple of years ago? Putin, a Soviet to the max, is still carrying on Soviet style foreign policy.
JonBostwick:the USSRs imperial interests were much more benign and defensive than the USAs ever were
I agree, but I sometimes wonder if it is the USA that has those interests or other powerful interests who stand to gain and use the USA as a means to their end.
DrunknMunky:He is referring to its demise in 1991 when we spent ourselves into the abyss in order to topple the Soviet Union.
How much of that was true? That Reagan and Thatcher single handedly outspend the Soviet Union into falling apart? How long would the Soviet Union have stayed together if it wasn't for them?
The short answer: The truth. The Soviet version of communism was infact institutionalized mafia. Everyone was on the take. From the baker to the mortician to the local party boss. That was the only way to get anything done. Andropov knew it. Gorbachev knew it. Gorbachev thought just a little bit of freedom would shed light in the dark corners of the empire. Unfortunately it all started to unravel. When the Soviet Union could no longer control history and the truth they were finished. An excellent book on the fall of the USSR is called "Lenin's Tomb". It's a great read.
BWF89:How much of that was true? That Reagan and Thatcher single handedly outspend the Soviet Union into falling apart? How long would the Soviet Union have stayed together if it wasn't for them?
The Soviets didn't have to spend a thing. They could have just put together some fake SDI tests, like the US did . . . Soviet intelligence knew very well that SDI results were faked. They had a very competent human intelligence network (turns out quite a few of our guys in DC suburbs were working for them).
What caused the SU to collapse was their non-sensical command/planned economic system. The citizens could see the difference, in western movies, TV's, and visits to Berlin . . . eventually it got to the point where Russian visitors to China was seeing economic prosperity that was far beyond what Sovient Union had (by the late 80's). Being the doctrinair true-believer communist that he was, Gorby decided to reform the political system first instead of the economic system . . . the "Openess and Progress" campaign unleashed 70 years of suppressed grievances against the regime . . . the rest as we say is history.
1. Command socialism
a.) Redistributionism: The destruction of private property and therefore of the profit motive for production, lead to famine and a general lack of necessary material values that made life intolerable. People produce only at subsistence levels when the profit motive is destroyed because any surplus value produced is redistributed from those of ability to those of need. Need is a legal claim under socialism.
b.) Market Non-existence: Socialism abolishes the market. Markets establish prices by serving as a place where producers and consumers can met to exchange values. The interaction of supply by producers and demand by consumers determines prices; the equilibrium point or market price is where the quantity of goods desired by consumers equals the quantity of goods produced by producers.
Socialism destroys this institution. It ignores supply and demand signals entirely and no one is legally allowed to exchange values under socialism because all property is owned by the State. Nothing can be had. Since market pricing is abolished and supply and demand are ignored, no rational method of pricing or allocation of goods and resources exists because supply and demand represent what the people want. Goods and resources are produced and consumed because people want them. If what people want is abolished, people will not be able to live properly. Dis-coordination due to the non-existence of markets and the market pricing system led to the general misallocation of goods and resources. Simply put, people could not obtain the material values the needed, making life even more intolerable.
c.) Military Spending: Since the State owned everything, the State could expropriate and redirect as much resources as possible toward State projects. the largest Soviet State project by far was maintaining the its massive military forces and capabilities. Armaments are, while a part of the right to self-defense, completelu unproductive. In the best situation, a private defense agency could use armaments to safeguard its clients and prevent destruction but nothing productive. They are not capital goods.
This vast redistribution system removed funds from more essential tasks such as food and utility production, further leading to intolerable conditions.
d.) Regeanite Conservatism: I read testimonies from ex-Russian generals who claimed that their greatest worry and primary reason for accelerating "defense" spending during the 80s was due to Regean's financing of "Star Wars" missile defense systems and his instillation of Pershing missiles in West Germany in range of Moscow. This encourged Soviet military spending which, again, criminally redirected funds toward completely unproductive ventures.
I'm not extolling Reageanite, big government conservatism. Capitalist anarchism is my cup of tea. But Regean's munitions seemed to frighten the Russians greatly.
"If we look at the black record of mass murder, exploitation, and tyranny levied on society by governments over the ages, we need not be loath to abandon the Leviathan State and ... try freedom." --Murray Rothbard
As I figure it, the Soviet Union collapsed because of the same things that collapse every empire. Money, time, and space.