Actually I have no disagreement with Louis P.'s main point, but he is repeating some nonfacts that I have seen several times now on this and some other lists.
In particular is that nonfact that somehow what would become West Germany was ahead of East Germany prior to WW II. Wrong. Most estimates suggest approximate equality between the two zones in 1939, with, if anything, the East having a slight edge in industrialization.
What is certainly true is that after the war the USSR pillaged the East until Stalin died while the West was showered with Marshall Plan aid, to keep it from "going Communist." Needless to say, this pillaging of the East does not quite sit well with LNP's claim that the USSR did not imperialize its satellites, although we do understand that the GDR was a special case.
After Stalin's death the GDR became a major industrial center, indeed, the major supplier for the CMEA of a number of high tech industrial items. Many of these industries went bust after the reunification because of the high exchange rate of the Ostmark and the inability to compete with Japanese and other capitalist suppliers of similar items to its former market.
Actually on some grounds, notably the status of women, the GDR looked better than the FRG. Barkley Rosser On Tue, 14 Jul 1998 09:58:41 -0400 Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> >No shit. Same could be said of the average Nicaraguan in the 80's
> >finding his country transformed into Spain, or the average Cuban in the
> >90's awakening in Japan.
> >Can we stick to meaningful comparisons here? Like West Germany vs. East
> >Germany, Cuba vs. Haiti, and such.
> >Enrique Diaz-Alvarez
> I am not really interested in these sorts of comparisons myself, since they
> usually conceal rather than reveal real differences. For example, to
> compare the economies of West and East Germany on the basis of measurable
> indicators would reveal that West Germany was superior. Any idiot can
> figure this out.
> What is of more interest is the particular circumstances that attended East
> Germany after WWII. The amount of capital that was available, the
> historical level of industrial development prior to the war, Russian
> decisions to transplant E. German machinery and keep it non-industrial
> according to treaties concluded by Stalin and the West. Etc., etc., etc.
> The main thing that should interest LBO-talkers like ourselves is that
> imperialism did not exist in the former Soviet bloc. The United States
> pillaged Central America, while the USSR was a beneficiary to Eastern
> Europe over the long haul. One of the reasons that the USSR bureaucracy
> became lured to the notion of perestroika is that it involved cutting
> subsidies to Eastern Europe. Gorbachev thought that these countries should
> have political and _economic_ independence. In my study of Nicaragua in the
> final years of Sandinista rule, it became crystal clear that the Soviet
> Union did not want Nicaragua to become "another Cuba" was that it was not
> in her economic self-interest. Cuba was a burden.
> The United States has never acted altruistically. All it does is bleed
> countries dry. Right now American oil companies are winding down their
> operations in Ecuador. They leave behind an ecological and economic mess.
> Local fisherman and farmers are ruined and a suit is being prepared against
> Exxon, et al. Since the government of Ecuador is one of our satellites, I
> don't expect much success.
> Louis Proyect
-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at jmu.edu