[lbo-talk] Gorbachev: I Should Have Left the Communist Party Earlier

SA s11131978 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 18 07:12:52 PDT 2011

On 8/18/2011 9:47 AM, Michael Pollak wrote:

>> They thought there were problems that should be dealt with - but
>> certainly not in any way that risked putting the system itself in the
>> slightest jeopardy.
> That goes too far. They knew precisely that they needed to put it in
> slight jeopardy. And were already doing so with Andropov -- and
> failing . They would have continued down the road. They would have
> had no choice because they would have kept on failing as the crisis
> built.

This idea that they had no choice - it's wrong. You talk as if dictatorships faced with stagnant economies automatically feel compelled to undertake more and more radical reform until they either collapse or the problem is solved. But they don't. They usually try to stand pat, change as little as possible, and clamp down on any dissent. Of course, that strategy itself can eventually prove self-defeating *if* the underlying problems are sufficiently grave and worsening at a sufficiently rapid pace. But the fact is that the USSR was, in the scheme of things, not in very serious trouble. There were certainly no seriously threats from below. Look at Saddam's Iraq. Look at North Korea. Those are regimes that were in real economic trouble - yet they didn't reform. The USSR wasn't in one one-hundredth of the trouble they were in. It could have gone on for many years - how many, who knows? But if it had gone down that road, history would have been incredibly different. We could easily still be living with the Berlin Wall, a divided Europe, no euro, etc. Probably even no Gulf War I.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list