Three years after the coming of the Communists to power in Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin following the Revolution of 1917, an Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises had prophesied the failure and subsequent demise of communism. Mises had provided a valid justification for his theory by affirming that communism disallowed free markets and therefore was destined to decline.
American journalist, Gary Allen in his book None Dare Call it Conspiracy, ripped apart the socialist ideology by asserting that “socialism is not a share-the-wealth programme, but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth.”
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 21, 2017
From a purely economic point of view, the communist ideology could not stand the test of time and in its pursuit of defeating capitalism and establishing a utopian egalitarian society failed miserably.
Contrary to Marx’s prediction of “capitalism carrying in itself the seeds of its own destruction,” the communist edifice imploded, and made way for a new world order. The economic institutions of China and Russia were modelled on communist thought, and it were these two nations particularly Russia which broke free from their communist shackles and emerged as leading economies which now cater to the burgeoning demand of goods across the markets of the world.
China, still claiming to be a communist state, is in fact the most capital intensive economy in the world and any claim to the contrary is but a myth. The abysmal state of economy in the other communist nations such as Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and North Korea provide enough evidence to prove that by following the Communist Manifesto and by deriding change and dynamism, no nation has been able to prosper.
Some nations, such as India, adopted the mixed economy model which was believed to steer India to great heights as far as economic development is concerned. The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru instituted the Five Year Plans in 1951 and these plans were largely patterned on the Soviet model wherein the reins of the economy were placed in the hands of the central government and no private enterprise was allowed to have any stake.
As a result of this miscalculation by Nehru, the Indian economy grew at a snail space in the first two decades of the post-partition era. It was only after 1991 (post-liberalization phase) that the Indian economy got a chance to revive and transform itself from a slow, static economy to a vibrant and dynamic economy which has now blossomed into one of the most formidable economies in the world. The socialist-communist mantra of development, therefore, did not bring about any miraculous change in the Indian economy, and was finally given up in favour of a market-oriented economic model.
The political institutions set up by communist regimes were based on the assumption that since the people (masses) had brought them to power, they would and must support them despite all odds. However, many scholars have argued, and rightly so, that Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky used communism as an ideological mask for propagating despotism. There is, in fact, no place for debate and deliberation in a communist set up.
The Russian ‘masses’ leading a revolution was a misconstrued fantasy which was far removed from reality. Lenin’s dictatorship of the proletariat eventually turned out to be a dictatorship over the proletariat. The abominable cruelty with which Stalin suppressed his opposition to establish his supremacy marked the beginning of a gruesome holocaust which drew parallels with the brutality perpetrated by the Fascists and Nazis. Stalinist Russia presented a perfect case of a communist regime turning dictatorial, and this was replicated in successive communist regimes in China.
The supreme leader of the Chinese communists, Mao Tse Tung, was a dictator, and the manner in which his successors conducted themselves was no less dictatorial. China, however, still claims to be a communist nation but with a liberal economy, a contradiction which even the best of Chinese economists cannot explain. Considering that all the markets in the world are flooded with Chinese goods, the flag bearers of communism seem to be dithering away from their ideology. China, however, continues to sponsor communist outfits in other countries, including India, where the Maoists continue to terrorize local people, army personnel and government officials.
If we look at the case of India, communism has been a failed enterprise from the very beginning. This became apparent with the first signs of schism which appeared in 1964 when there was a split in the Communist Party of India. Following this, the naxal faction engineered the Naxalbari uprising in 1967 and subsequently in 1969 established the CPI (ML). The ideological duplicity in the communist movement stood exposed after the split. The communist ideology could not gain ground in the country, and its fractured existence remains confined to only two states, West Bengal and Kerala.
The collapse of communism has engaged many scholars in the past who have propounded theories about the decline of the ideology and the political and economic institutions associated with it. As an extension of what has been discussed and deliberated upon for years, it is imperative to add a new perspective to this dynamic debate.
Communism, apart from everything else, calls for a social order in which religion has no place and all the necessary components for the functioning of the society are driven by economic factors.
This model cannot and does not hold true for countries such as India where dharma and karma are the key factors governing the social order.
Marx’s injunction of “religion being the opium of the masses” is a conjecture which is abjectly overrated, and more importantly is not applicable to countries such as India where dharma cannot be separated from governance. The narrow limitations Marx and his adherents placed on religion made it an exclusive entity which was pitted against progress and development, however, such a viewpoint could not hold the attention of the masses for too long. Religion cannot be disassociated with the state and every human action cannot be explained in economic terms. Once this understanding began to trickle in, the edifice of communism began to crumble.