Communist Economies

December 28, 1984

Report Outline
The System's Challenges
Marxist Applications
Changing Conditions
Special Focus

The System's Challenges

Interdependence of the World Economy

Interdependence is the catchword for today's global economy. Newly industrialized countries such as Taiwan and South Korea are nibbling away at the industrial prominence of the United States, Western Europe and Japan. These established industrialized giants are vulnerable to outside pressures, as they discovered in the 1970s when oil-rich nations, mostly in the Middle East, banded together to control the production and price of oil. Many of the less-developed nations of the Third World rely heavily on the industrialized world for investment and financial aid to fuel their own development.

Within the context of this increasingly interdependent global economy, the communist countries occupy a special place. The centrally planned economies of the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe as well as Soviet-supported Third World countries such as Cuba and Vietnam participate to a far lesser degree in the world economy. This is due in part to the Soviet abundance of oil and other natural resources, in part to the Soviet policy of trying to maintain economic self-sufficiency within its own borders and the continued dependence of its satellites. As a result these economies have suffered less directly from the recurrent recessions and oil shocks that have buffeted the capitalist, or market, economies in recent years. But the communist economies have also benefited less from the stimulus offered by expanding world trade.

Since the Soviet Union and its allies publish few reliable statistics, Western analysis of the communist economies is sketchy and often incomplete. It is clear, however, that the central planning on which they are based has fallen short of expectations. The Soviet Union, which has stood as the principal model of communist economic development for the past 67 years, today presents a lackluster alternative to the free enterprise system. Low industrial productivity, dependence on foreign sources of agricultural commodities and a dearth of consumer goods are chronic problems.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Communism and Socialism
Aug. 02, 2011  Communism Today
Mar. 04, 1988  Communist Reformers Look West
Dec. 28, 1984  Communist Economies
Sep. 21, 1984  Southern European Socialism
Feb. 09, 1979  Communist Indochina and the Big Powers
Apr. 23, 1976  Western European Communism
May 28, 1969  World Communist Summit
Nov. 20, 1968  Intellectuals in Communist Countries
Aug. 28, 1968  Scandinavia and Socialism
Oct. 18, 1967  Soviet Communism After Fifty Years
Sep. 21, 1966  Soviet Economy: Incentives Under Communism
Sep. 15, 1965  Thailand: New Red Target
Dec. 18, 1963  Communist Schisms
Mar. 13, 1963  Venezuela: Target for Reds
Apr. 25, 1962  Teaching About Communism
Dec. 01, 1960  Farming and Food in Communist Lands
Apr. 27, 1960  Communist Party, U.S.A.
Nov. 07, 1956  Reds and Redefection
Apr. 11, 1956  Communists and Popular Fronts
Dec. 07, 1955  Religion Behind the Iron Curtain
Nov. 12, 1954  Communist Controls
Feb. 11, 1953  Red Teachers and Educational Freedom
Apr. 04, 1950  Loyalty and Security
Aug. 19, 1949  Church and Communism
Jul. 22, 1949  Reds in Trade Unions
Jul. 05, 1949  Academic Freedom
Feb. 11, 1948  Control of Communism in the United States
Feb. 05, 1947  Investigations of Un-Americanism
Nov. 13, 1946  Communism in America
Mar. 28, 1935  Anti-Radical Agitation
Oct. 19, 1932  The Socialist Vote in 1932
Aug. 08, 1931  National Economic Councils Abroad
Arms Control and Disarmament
Economic Development
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union