Reform Of Socialist States

The last quarter of the 20th century was full of different rather important events in the life of the world. Maybe, the most significant actions of this time were the attempts of changing a political and economic structure of two biggest states. These are China and the Soviet Union. The leaders of both countries began certain reforms. One of them became among the most powerful states in the world; and the other one put an end of its existence as a whole country. China appeared to the world as a so called economic miracle, as well as the Soviet Union fell apart to fifteen independent states it had been including during seventeen years. It was evident that reforms were absolutely necessary for both of them. The problem was to decide which of them were functional and what mechanism of their application had been. Thus, Deng Xiaoping made all necessary reforms in a proper time and under strict control of the government and the Party. Mikhail Gorbachev tried to reform the socialist state in many spheres of life, not all of them had been required for the society. He didn’t organize their fulfillment properly and didn’t have power over the situation in the country. 


The most important aim of Deng Xiaoping in a new course of his country was an entry of China to a global economic system. The beginning of a new time for this country is considered to occur in December 1978. At that time, the Central Committee of Communist Party of China refused from the official ideology and class struggle and began to work in order to achieve four aims. They included such four modernizations: agriculture, industry, science and technology, as well as military. The leader of China had a goal to encourage the country economy with the help of a free market, competitions, and private property. In opposition to Mao’s doctrine, Deng stressed that a principal contradiction of any society lies in material and technological issues of production more than in social relations of production. The beginning of the reconstruction for China’s economy was in agriculture. People who had been living in communes had all in common. It was one more type of collectivization. Deng declared policy of decollectivization. The Chinese leader told in one of his speeches that the reason why it was necessary to begin from agriculture was the following one. 80 percent of population had lived in countryside. Deng stressed that socialism could not be built in the country where most of people were poor. Socialism should win poverty, first of all. He said,” Industry, commerce and other sectors of the economy cannot develop on the basis of the poverty of 80 percent of the population.”  The other point of reformation was the industry itself. There were many risks; according to Deng’s speech, the most important problem of which was a widespread corruption of the society and in industrial sector as well. A new Chinese course was to refuse from the command economy and allow the development of individual one. Both Chinese and foreign investments and enterprises had been owned by foreign businessmen, “the central party-state made concessions to lower-level administrators, granting them more material benefits.”  Deng told that most people had become prosperous first; and they should help those who was still living in poverty. This problem should be solved through the system of taxes, “predominance of public ownership and common prosperity are two fundamental socialist principles.”  Also, openness of the country for relationships with other states, and a great attention to modern technology and support of them may assist in this.  Moreover, private enterprises in agriculture and industry strengthening of military forces accompanied the Chinese reforms introduced under a strict dictatorship of the Communist Party of China. The Tiananmen crisis was the evidence that all these reforms had nothing in common with democracy of the community in this country. 

Speaking about social and political reforms in the USSR made by Mikhail Gorbachev, it should be noted that he began with the policy of glasnost. It consisted of making the government more transparent, making censorship law easier, and giving freedom for people to say about their own thoughts. Together with this, Gorbachev made an open relationship with other countries and, first of all, with the USA. This policy concerned the application of democratic values in the Soviet society. There was one problem whether  this society was ready for these reforms. The Soviet leader declared the policy of perestroika as well the most important principle of which the implementation of private property and development of private sector of economics in the USSR had been. Gorbachev told that “perestroika is the all-around intensification […] principles of democratic centralism […] overall encouragement if innovation.”  The Soviet leader said that this policy “unites socialism with democracy.”  He meant that the Soviet people had got more freedom both in the public life and in the sphere of production. A lot of private cooperatives appeared when people had worked and earned more than others. Before the time of Gorbachev’s reforms, people in the USSR had been living not well. However, at the same time, it wasn’t pure poverty. After some time, the Soviet society turned into the community without a middle class at all. There were only very wealthy or very poor people. The government didn’t control the situation either in the economy or in the political life. From the point of view of it, the Soviet people having lived for 70 years under the command of the Communist Party were not ready for freedom of reforms of Gorbachev. The result of this policy was a failure of the Soviet Union as an independent state. 

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Thus, at the moment, one country was becoming stronger and wealthier; the other one stopped its existence. Before the time of reforms, the life in China and in the Soviet Union for simple people was different. The Chinese society was very poor, especially the suburb inhabitants. People in the USSR had a better life; they were living in good conditions, and most of them had a good education. Chinese as well as Soviet people didn’t have a possibility to speak about what they were thinking. There was no freedom of thoughts. The world outside of both countries was closed. Both of them declared that they were going to follow basic principles of socialism. However, any social structure can’t develop without an interaction with other world. China and the USSR opened the so called iron curtain. They both allowed private property and began to build up their economies on this principle. In both countries there were wealthy people and the poor ones. If Deng Xiaoping told about this situation when some people earned more than the others, he suggested regulating it with a system of taxes. As for the Soviet Union, this problem had not been solved. The Chinese leader didn’t stop a strong command of the Party; the Soviet government didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. The policy of glasnost supposed a participation of all people for ruling the country.

It should be noted that these two states needed such changes. In China, there were too many poor people. Deng understood that it could be a reason for rebellion. The Soviet people had lived well. However, the corruption was so high that economic reforms were absolutely necessary. The Chinese leader left dictatorship of the Party and didn’t give people much freedom of thinking and taking part in administration. If Deng Xiaoping made the life of simple people better, the country became a very powerful state, and even today it is developing very fast. Gorbachev had paid all his attention to consolidation of relationship of the USSR with other countries and, first of all, with such powerful states like the USA. However, he didn’t retrace the situation in the economic and social life of his country. There were a lot of signs of threat for disintegration of the USSR. There was one more point which had been important to note. Socialism supposed to have the high moral standards of the people’s life, and their special inner features such as honesty and hard working. The Soviet Union consisted of many different nations and nationalities with a lot of different religions. During the history of the USSR, these people were oppressed and offended by the Soviet power. While there was a strict command of the Communist Party and a huge system of suppression, there were no many strong voices for independence. When Gorbachev allowed the freedom of words and minds, these forces inside of the Soviet society became stronger and stronger. As a result, the states being the parts of the USSR declared their independence. The Chinese society also consisted of some nationalities. However, the high standards of life and power of the country in the world arena as well as strong command of the Party didn’t find necessary reasons for the same actions. Thus, the increasing quality of life was the reason of unity of China, as well as the growth of poverty and uncertainty about their future made people look for better conditions of life and also in another state. 

It is very important to begin all types of reforms in social as well as in economic life with people upbringing. Any leader should discover the readiness of the society to accept these reforms and support them. There is another way of applying reforms for the state with the help of force being also acceptable. In this case, the leader should understand that there is always a threat for rebellion. Michael Gorbachev didn’t make people of the USSR ready for these reforms, as well as Deng Xiaoping suppressed the riot of the society in China on Tiananmen Square.  

It is evident that the reasons of failure of reforms in the former USSR and the success of nearly the same changes in China lied in the readiness of people to support them. Their understanding was important for this as well as their ability of the leader to take into account all peculiarities of the community and possible difficulties. China’s leader understood the necessity of strict control of all reforms in his country, especially in the economic sphere. This approach was right for the situation in China at that time. The result of them was huge increasing the economics of this state and the mighty power of the country in the world. Mikhail Gorbachev did not consider some important political issues in the former USSR, i.e. the attitude of minds of the Soviet society at that time. The result of this weak point of his reformation activity was the ruin of the USSR as the independent state. 


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