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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forms of Government Other than Democracy: Communism

Communism is a social, economic and political system that is different from democracy, capitalism, dictatorship or monarchy.

The doctrine of communism was conceived by Karl Marx- a nineteenth century German scholar. It came to be known as Marxism. Later on Marxism was modified by other practitioners of communism. The prominent modifiers were: Vladimir Lenin of Soviet Russia (Marxism-Leninism), Mao Tse Tung of China (Maoism), Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia (Titoism) etc.

Communism majorly took its root in nineteenth century and then revolutions took place in twentieth century to establish governments guided by the communist thoughts. Soviet Union, People's Republic of China and Republic of Cuba were the early states to adopt communism. Communist governments took control in some more countries like Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, North Korea etc.

Additionally, through democratic elections in some countries like Bolivia and Venezuela communism inspired governments got elected in twentieth and twenty first centuries.

As per Kark Marx, communism emerges and finally matures from the development of the productive forces that leads to a superabundance of material wealth, allowing for distribution based on need and social relations based on freely-associated individuals.

As per communism, the working class, referred to as the proletariat, is the main producer of wealth in society. In capitalistic model this working class is exploited by the capitalist class. Therefore, emphasis of communism is to establish a society without class divisions.

Communism thus ultimately aims at classless society.

Under communism, all property and all means of production are owned in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community rather than by individuals.

However, in practice, a single authoritarian and self-perpetuating political party controls both the political and economic systems.

So in practice, communism could not be implemented and established in its purest theoretical conceptualizations. Because of the way communism came to be practised its impact on improving socio-economic and political system was not promising enough.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union. His reforms brought in glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) and he relaxed government control. East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary abandoned communism by 1990. Soviet Union itself dissolved in 1991 and resultant Russia quit communism.

People's Republic of China also reassessed various aspects of the Maoist type of communism. as a result, in China, Laos and Vietnam the communist governments reduced their control on the economy facilitating a stimulus to economic growth. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping brought economic reforms in China. With such changes, China managed to bring down the poverty from 53% in the Mao era to 6% in 2001. China also established market led special economic zones free from government control.

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