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Did Communism set back Eastern Europe's economy?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Russia, Ukraine, or the former Soviet Republics.

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Did Communism set back Eastern Europe's economy?

Postby philosophical_filipino » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:06 pm

Soviet Union really terrorized the shit out of Eastern Europe. The Cold War, venture into Afghanistan, and Eastern European uprisings put an end to Soviet era power. Russia's infrastructure, is honestly, a total shit nightmare. Especially if you want to have a kid in Russia. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2 ... ins_russia

Do Eastern Europeans have any animosity towards the Russians for delaying the economic progress of their countries?
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Postby have2fly » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:03 pm

Of course! However, many East Germans feel sorry that they joined Western Germany because Communism had many good things people tend to forget, but remember after they would live under Capitalism. For example, USSR had very decent FREE healthcare, everything was provided by the State. FREE education, FREE childcare, FREE pension and retirement support without deductions, FREE vacation travel booking through unions, FREE child vacation camps during summers, heavily subsidized transportation and food. There was NO homeless people! There was virtually NO unemployment! People had a month of vacation time per year! Mothers had 1 year of paid time off after giving birth! Basic clothing, foods, housing bills were easy to pay for by EVERYONE! On the other hand, not team work, but "community" was enforced! Meaning there was NO homeless children, alcoholics were looked down upon and your neighbors would initiate "civil public protection teams" that would patrol the streets, also neighbors would initiate "community gatherings" to discuss "terrible family issues of surrounding people" and to find out ways to help them! Community was not just a word, it was a way of life! In addition, there was NO HIV/AIDS, no heavy drugs and no anti-depressants, yet people were much happier.

Now - did infrastructure of E Europe suffered? Yes! Absolutely! Now go to Sweden and go to Hungary, which one you think has hotter looking women? Finland or Slovakia? Hungary and Slovakia, hands down. It has to do with more natural foods, left-over social connection with people around etc.

If you ask me, I am VERY VERY happy there was socialism in E Europe because now many of us can go there and enjoy their life.
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Postby philosophical_filipino » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:53 pm

You make socialism sound really good. But the problem was that no one owned anything. The state did. Capitalism promotes individual rights and private property ownership.

Are you saying capitalism wasn't beneficial to Eastern Europe?
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the
suffering itself because no heart has ever suffered when it goes in
search of its dream." - Paulo Coelho

"Filipinos don't realize that victory is the child of struggle, that
joy blossoms from suffering, and redemption is a product of
sacrifice." - José Rizal
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Postby have2fly » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:35 am

Tell me something new! I was born in USSR and grew up in ex-USSR. I definitely know what I am talking about.

Your question is wrong! Question should be: "Capitalism brought prosperity, but did it bring happiness?"

Europe is the best Capitalist system, for sure. Although it does seem to fail now with weak economy, but U.S. economy is failing as well, so let's not judge which one is worse or better.

Most amazing question yet: "If you are buying a car - would you rather buy a socialist Mercedes or Ferrari or 'so-called' pure capitalist American-made Lincoln or Cadillac? We all know the answer." Therefore, partial socialism in Western Europe generates great results, they manage to produce much better goods than Americans. Or rather - socialism itself isn't the problem, it's about application of the ideology and related factors - culture, history, politics, law enforcement, lifestyle, family values, background etc.
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Postby onezero4u » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:19 am

haha is that a joke?....ferraris and mercedes are made by socialists....

i always thought they were private corporations with stock holders.

a better example would be the "yugo"
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Postby ladislav » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:28 am

I watched a TV program some time ago and it was discussing how communism and capitalism changed each other. Socialism eventually became more capitalist as in China, and capitalism developed social programs, so eventually a balance is being achieved.

Keep in mind one thing, though- the E. Euro countries as well as the USSR were' not' living under communism- they were living under a very dictatorial variety of socialism. They had a party at the helm that called itself Communist and had a hammer and sickle on its banner, but its goal was to 'attain' Communism and they were still very far from it when the system collapsed. So, the best they could do was to achieve a militaristic, despotic style of socialism with one party and a non competitive industry and agriculture which did not work as well as in capitalism. It was not customer-oriented, and resulted in a society with empty shelves and horrible customer service and a bloated bureaucrat elite supported by a huge military with nuclear weapons.

The only pure communism was attained in the Israeli kibbutz system but it is not a government system and you could quit it any time you wanted and go back to capitalism. A wacky variety of communism was in Pol Pot's Cambodia in the 1970ies. Even in North Korea, there is money and communism isn't supposed to have money.

So, for all the decades of the media screaming about the commies, they were ( or have been) in fact "socies", not commies.

If you lived in Karl Marx's times you would have seen a pure capitalist system and believe you me, you would want to change it. too. It was nasty and brutal and extremely selfish and exploitative. Poorer people had no chance to advance at all. Capitalist China was also very brutal with young girls being sold to whore houses and the rich acting like all powerful kings. The same happened in Cambodia. The vicious class hatred towards the ruling a##holes resulted in communist revolutions.

In many 3d world countries today you have pure capitalism and it is very inhumane and gives poor people no hope to ever succeed and improve their lot.

The conclusion of the Cold War and all these "experiments" that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions is simple- you cannot have either pure capitalism which is very cruel and results in a small ruling elite of a##holes, and masses of indigents, nor can you have pure socialism because it is not dynamic and again results in a small elite of a##holes- the ruling party, with a dull and stagnant economy in which people are not motivated to work and/or produce. And it also proved that communism as a government system was not attainable.

So, you need private enterprise and private property and the stock market, but at the same time, you need a safety net for those less fortunate and grants and loans so that people can move up in their social standing. You need an affordable medical insurance, you need an education that is cheaper or heavily subsidized so that an average person can improve him/herself.

Europe has attained some kind of balance, and so did many oil-based Arab economies of the Gulf and both are still works in progress. But once a society is too socialist as in Greece, or too capitalist as in Somalia or El Salvador, it results in economic, social and political disasters.

onezero4u wrote:haha is that a joke?....ferraris and mercedes are made by socialists....

i always thought they were private corporations with stock holders.

a better example would be the "yugo"


Of course they are made by capitalist corporations but these are located in societies where workers are not treated badly, where they cannot be fired or laid off at a whim, and where they can have a really good, prosperous life in exchange for their work. They are made in nations that have safety nets and a healthy combination of both systems.

One of the main indicators that Europe is doing better is in the fact that there are very few Europeans immigrating to the US. They used to in the past and they built the USA as such but now only the people from countries who are either too socialist or too capitalist are the ones immigrating. The US and its social programs are attractive to Mexicans and El Salvadorans and its health industry is attractive to foreign nurses and doctors from Asia or E. Europe. But you do not have Brits or Germans trying to sneak across the border to make money in the US.
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Postby djfourmoney » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:59 pm

onezero4u wrote:haha is that a joke?....ferraris and mercedes are made by socialists....

i always thought they were private corporations with stock holders.

a better example would be the "yugo"


The European car market is not getting bailed out... Opel is owned/run by GM USA, it had massive debts mostly because it didn't make competitive products, first against companies like Fiat and Renault, then against the Japanese and then Koreans. Its market is the average middle class/working consumer and it couldn't compete. It makes better products because they are taking money out of the company to give to their CEO's and fudging the product. Because of the massive debt write-off in the US, GM is able to make the investment in its products and its producing some solid stuff. Now this trend started about 5 years before the crash of 2008, but the point is, companies like GM were ill prepared for the economy tanking.

Companies like Benz and BMW switched to part-time status of their workers when demand fell through. As for Ferrari, its a company that's lucky to make 5,000 cars a year and they sell every last one of them. Its also owned by Fiat that was state owned during the war (WWII). Old Man Ferrari loved Racing much more than he did building cars for putz rich people...
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Postby djfourmoney » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:16 am

ladislav wrote:I watched a TV program some time ago and it was discussing how communism and capitalism changed each other. Socialism eventually became more capitalist as in China, and capitalism developed social programs, so eventually a balance is being achieved.

Keep in mind one thing, though- the E. Euro countries as well as the USSR were' not' living under communism- they were living under a very dictatorial variety of socialism. They had a party at the helm that called itself Communist and had a hammer and sickle on its banner, but its goal was to 'attain' Communism and they were still very far from it when the system collapsed. So, the best they could do was to achieve a militaristic, despotic style of socialism with one party and a non competitive industry and agriculture which did not work as well as in capitalism. It was not customer-oriented, and resulted in a society with empty shelves and horrible customer service and a bloated bureaucrat elite supported by a huge military with nuclear weapons.

The only pure communism was attained in the Israeli kibbutz system but it is not a government system and you could quit it any time you wanted and go back to capitalism. A wacky variety of communism was in Pol Pot's Cambodia in the 1970ies. Even in North Korea, there is money and communism isn't supposed to have money.

So, for all the decades of the media screaming about the commies, they were ( or have been) in fact "socies", not commies.

If you lived in Karl Marx's times you would have seen a pure capitalist system and believe you me, you would want to change it. too. It was nasty and brutal and extremely selfish and exploitative. Poorer people had no chance to advance at all. Capitalist China was also very brutal with young girls being sold to whore houses and the rich acting like all powerful kings. The same happened in Cambodia. The vicious class hatred towards the ruling a##holes resulted in communist revolutions.

In many 3d world countries today you have pure capitalism and it is very inhumane and gives poor people no hope to ever succeed and improve their lot.

The conclusion of the Cold War and all these "experiments" that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions is simple- you cannot have either pure capitalism which is very cruel and results in a small ruling elite of a##holes, and masses of indigents, nor can you have pure socialism because it is not dynamic and again results in a small elite of a##holes- the ruling party, with a dull and stagnant economy in which people are not motivated to work and/or produce. And it also proved that communism as a government system was not attainable.

So, you need private enterprise and private property and the stock market, but at the same time, you need a safety net for those less fortunate and grants and loans so that people can move up in their social standing. You need an affordable medical insurance, you need an education that is cheaper or heavily subsidized so that an average person can improve him/herself.

Europe has attained some kind of balance, and so did many oil-based Arab economies of the Gulf and both are still works in progress. But once a society is too socialist as in Greece, or too capitalist as in Somalia or El Salvador, it results in economic, social and political disasters.

onezero4u wrote:haha is that a joke?....ferraris and mercedes are made by socialists....

i always thought they were private corporations with stock holders.

a better example would be the "yugo"


Of course they are made by capitalist corporations but these are located in societies where workers are not treated badly, where they cannot be fired or laid off at a whim, and where they can have a really good, prosperous life in exchange for their work. They are made in nations that have safety nets and a healthy combination of both systems.

One of the main indicators that Europe is doing better is in the fact that there are very few Europeans immigrating to the US. They used to in the past and they built the USA as such but now only the people from countries who are either too socialist or too capitalist are the ones immigrating. The US and its social programs are attractive to Mexicans and El Salvadorans and its health industry is attractive to foreign nurses and doctors from Asia or E. Europe. But you do not have Brits or Germans trying to sneak across the border to make money in the US.


Excellent Post and it sums it up nicely Lav...

Ultimately what works is a Mixed Economy as you said a bit of both. What the Right Wing uses is fear mongering of the US being completely socialist like Pol Pot or something. That way socialism is a dirty word, but that might be changing. In several poles taken in the US of what things they identified as things Americans want, are standard features of many Western European economies. Thomas Geoghegan in his book "Where You Born On The Wrong Continent?" said that often Americans agree with how Germany's economy is run. That shouldn't surprise anybody, the Marshall Plan was apart of the FDR Admin and if you listen to FDR's 2nd Bill of Rights speech you know what type of America he wanted to have. But starting with Truman's original "Do Nothing" Congress which was mostly Conservatives and Racist Dixiecrats from the South, we've had roughly 40 years of Conservative rule, with JFK, LBJ, Cater, Clinton and now Obama to break that up.

The last "Real" Conservative was Eisenhower... Since then its been a series of Neo-Cons and Neo-Liberals in varying degrees.

As I have been telling Occupy LA, we're either going to become more like Europe because the people demand it (like after WW2) or it will be a long, painful, downward spiral. By the time the 1% see that productivity has been impacted by shortages, strikes and inflation, it will be too late. I doubt that will happen however.
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Postby have2fly » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:57 am

The European car market is not getting bailed out... Opel is owned/run by GM USA, it had massive debts mostly because it didn't make competitive products, first against companies like Fiat and Renault, then against the Japanese and then Koreans. Its market is the average middle class/working consumer and it couldn't compete. It makes better products because they are taking money out of the company to give to their CEO's and fudging the product. Because of the massive debt write-off in the US, GM is able to make the investment in its products and its producing some solid stuff. Now this trend started about 5 years before the crash of 2008, but the point is, companies like GM were ill prepared for the economy tanking.

Companies like Benz and BMW switched to part-time status of their workers when demand fell through. As for Ferrari, its a company that's lucky to make 5,000 cars a year and they sell every last one of them. Its also owned by Fiat that was state owned during the war (WWII). Old Man Ferrari loved Racing much more than he did building cars for putz rich people...

Great post!
Opel was almost always owned by GM during its history by the way, many of the rebadged Opel cars are sold in the U.S. Think of newer cars: Cadillac Catera (Opel Omega), Saturn Vue (Opel Antara), Buick Regal (Opel Insignia), Saturn Sky-Pontiac Solstice (Opel GT).
I was shocked that during 2008 economic depression Opel was just an inch from being sold to Canadian Magna and Russian government :) GM declined the offer right before final paperwork was to be signed.

Let's remember how many brands GM used to have? And now with all those billions of dollars they still lost so many brands and GM had just started to produce *decent* quality cars. Nevertheless, drive a BMW and Buick that cost the same money, GM is still far away from catching up to Europeans. One thing American cars lack is inspirational driving and great feedback, something Audi and BMW are very good at. Fuel efficiency is another thing, I just don't understand why Americans need to buy Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150 to commute to work everyday and then complain about gas prices. Those people should get a life!

Back to my original point. Europe (and Canada too) is highly socialist society in minds of many Americans. Healthcare is much more affordable and socialized for a long time now, education in most European countries is still mostly FREE. Workers in Europe enjoy at least 5-week paid vacation per year, French work 35 hours per week, labor is highly unionized in Europe too. All those things are the ones American seem to see as a negative - unions ruining car industry, socialized medicine is run by government etc. However, Europeans continue to deliver remarkable quality goods. Not just cars: French and Italian wine and cheese, Swiss watches, Italian fashion designs, German electronics. U.S. market is a huge consumer of European goods. However, everyone in the U.S. is scared of the word "Socialism", but would be proud to drive a flashy Mercedes coupe that is built in a much more socialist economy.

In addition, Volkswagen is still partially owned by German government. Porsche himself designed original Beetle, that was done under Nazi regime. VW also owns tons of other companies: Bentley, Audi, Skoda (Czech, they make very good cars now since VW purchased them), Lamborghini (yes, if you sit inside Gallardo the navigation unit is the same as Audi A4/S4), Porsche, Bugatti.

Totally off-topic:
Mentioning Canada reminded me of another shocking discovery - there are pretty much NO GHETTOs in Canada, 100 times less crime compared to the U.S. Blacks are way more educated too. It just sounds like a joke, but that's the way it is. How could they manage it over there and U.S. can't do the same thing? Again, seems like ghetto people are the ones draining money from social programs, but Canada is even more socialized, but less people parasite off their system.
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