Openness and Foreign Policy Reform in Communist States

Now, it could charge higher prices in the marketplace — prices many Soviets could not afford. Government spending and Soviet debt skyrocketed, and pushes by workers for higher wages led to dangerous inflation.

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If Gorbachev faced opposition from the entrenched hardliners that he was moving too far, too fast, he was criticized for doing just the opposite by others. Some liberals called for full-fledged abolishment of central planning committees entirely, which Gorbachev resisted. As reforms under glasnost revealed both the horrors of the Soviet past, and its present-day inefficiencies, Gorbachev moved to remake much of the political system of the U.

Early Attempts at Reform

At a Party meeting in , he pushed through measures calling for the first truly democratic elections since the Russian Revolution of Hardliners who supported this initially believed that the date for these elections would be far enough in the future that they could control the process. Instead, Gorbachev announced that they would be held just months later. While some Communist Party members reserved many of the seats for themselves, other hardliners went down to defeat at the ballot box to liberal reformers.

Former dissidents and prisoners, including Nobel laureate physicist and activist Andrei Sakharov , were elected, as candidates waged Western-style campaigns. When the new Congress met for its first session in May , newspapers, television and radio stations — newly empowered by the lifting of press restrictions under glasnost — devoted hours of time to the meetings, which featured open conflict between conservatives and liberals.

But as with economic reforms, many of these newly-elected reformers used their platforms to criticize what they still considered limited change. And the pushback by hardliners was just as fierce.


In March , the largest newspaper in the Soviet Union published a full-throttled attack on Gorbachev by chemist and social critic Nina Andreyeva. Gorbachev held firm on a promise to end Soviet involvement in a war in Afghanistan, which the U. After 10 controversial years and nearly 15, Soviet deaths, troops fully withdrew in It was with the staunchly anti-Communist Reagan that Gorbachev, a new kind of Communist leader, achieved a series of landmark agreements, including the INF Treaty that eliminated all intermediate range nuclear weapons in Europe.

After decades of heavy-handed control over Eastern Bloc nations, the Soviet Union under Gorbachev eased their grip. In , he announced to the United Nations that Soviet troop levels would be reduced, and later said that the U.

The remarkable speed of the collapse of these satellite countries was stunning: By the end of the Berlin Wall came down and Germany was on the path to reunification, and relatively peaceful revolutions had brought democracy to countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

Inspired by reforms with the Soviet Union under both perestroika and glasnost, as well as the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, nationalist independence movements began to swell within the U. As the difficulties of half a decade of reform rattled the stability of Communist Party, Gorbachev attempted to right the ship, shifting his positions to appease both hardliners and liberals. His increasing appeals for Western support and assistance, particularly to President George H. Bush , went unheeded. In August , a coup by hardliners aligned with some members of the KGB attempted to remove Gorbachev, but he maintained in control, albeit temporarily.

Gorbachev resigned on December 25, The Cold War was over. The New York Times , November 9, Glasnost and Its Limits: Commentary Magazine July, Perestroika, Library of Economics and Liberty. New Struggle in the Kremlin: How to Change the Economy. The New York Times , June 4, Reform that changed the world.

BBC News , March 10 We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. During this period, Deng Xiaoping's policies continued beyond the initial reforms. Controls on private businesses and government intervention continued to decrease, and there was small-scale privatization of state enterprises which had become unviable.

A notable development was the decentralization of state control, leaving local provincial leaders to experiment with ways to increase economic growth and privatize the state sector. Although the economy grew quickly during this period, economic troubles in the inefficient state sector increased. Heavy losses had to be made up by state revenues and acted as a drain upon the economy.

China's government slowly expanded recognition of the private economy, first as a "complement" to the state sector and then as an "important component" of the socialist market economy. In the s, Deng forced many of the conservative elders such as Chen Yun into retirement, allowing radical reforms to be carried out. In and , large-scale privatization occurred, in which all state enterprises, except a few large monopolies, were liquidated and their assets sold to private investors.

Between and , the number of state-owned enterprises decreased by 48 percent. These moves invoked discontent among some groups, especially laid-off workers of state enterprises that had been privatized. Also in , China was able to surpass Japan as the largest economy in Asia. Hu Jintao and his conservative administration began to reverse some of Deng Xiaoping's reforms in Observers note that the government adopted more egalitarian and populist policies.

Under Xi Jinping and his administration , the Communist Party of China has sought to increase its control over state-owned and private enterprises. At least firms have revised their corporate charters to allow the CPC greater influence in corporate management, and to reflect the party line. China's economic growth since the reform has been very rapid, exceeding the East Asian Tigers.

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Economists estimate China's GDP growth from to at between 9. For the period —, Chinese GDP per capita increased from 2. GDP per capita, and from Per capita incomes grew at 6. China is widely seen as an engine of world and regional growth. After three decades of reform, China's economy experienced one of the world's biggest booms. Agriculture and light industry have largely been privatized, while the state still retains control over some heavy industries.

Despite the dominance of state ownership in finance, telecommunications, petroleum and other important sectors of the economy, private entrepreneurs continue to expand into sectors formerly reserved for public enterprise. Prices have also been liberalized. During the pre-reform period, Chinese agricultural performance was extremely poor and food shortages were common. A more fundamental transformation was the economy's growing adoption of cash crops instead of just growing rice and grain.

In the pre-reform period, industry was largely stagnant and the socialist system presented few incentives for improvements in quality and productivity. With the introduction of the dual-price system and greater autonomy for enterprise managers, productivity increased greatly in the early s. By the s, large-scale privatizations reduced the market share of both the Township and Village Enterprises and state-owned enterprises and increased the private sector's market share. From virtually an industrial backwater in , China is now the world's biggest producer of concrete, steel, ships and textiles, and has the world's largest automobile market.

Chinese steel output quadrupled between and , and from to rose from Chinese textile exports increased from 4. Textile output increased fold over the same period.

Openness and Foreign Policy Reform in Communist States (e-Book) - Routledge

Scholars find that China has attained a degree of openness that is unprecedented among large and populous nations, with competition from foreign goods in almost every sector of the economy. Foreign investment helped to greatly increase quality, knowledge and standards, especially in heavy industry. China's experience supports the assertion that globalization greatly increases wealth for poor countries. Even during the early reform era, protectionist policies were often circumvented by smuggling.

For Argentina, Brazil, India, and Indonesia, the respective percentage figures are China's trade surplus is considered by some in the United States as threatening American jobs. In the s, the Bush administration pursued protectionist policies such as tariffs and quotas to limit the import of Chinese goods. Some scholars argue that China's growing trade surplus is the result of industries in more developed Asian countries moving to China, and not a new phenomenon. Foreign investment was also liberalized upon Deng's ascension.

Special Economic Zones SEZs were created in the early s to attract foreign capital by exempting them from taxes and regulations.

This experiment was successful and SEZs were expanded to cover the whole Chinese coast. In the s, the financial sector was liberalized.

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  • China's banking sector is dominated by four large state-owned banks, which are largely inefficient and monopolistic. The financial sector is widely seen as a drag on the economy due to the inefficient state management. Due to the weakness of the banks, firms raise most of their capital through an informal, nonstandard financial sector developed during the s and s, consisting largely of underground businesses and private banks.

    By the s much emphasis was placed on the role of advertising in meeting the modernization goals being promoted by Deng. Lip service was still paid to old Maoist ideals of egalitarianism, but it did not inhibit the growth of consumerism. In the pre-reform era, government was funded by profits from state-owned enterprises , much like the Soviet Union. Scholars have proposed a number of theories to explain the success of China's economic reforms in its move from a planned economy to a socialist market economy despite unfavorable factors such as the troublesome legacies of socialism, considerable erosion of the work ethic, decades of anti-market propaganda, and the " lost generation " whose education disintegrated amid the disruption of the Cultural Revolution.

    One notable theory is that decentralization of state authority allowed local leaders to experiment with various ways to privatize the state sector and energize the economy. Another theory focuses on internal incentives within the Chinese government, in which officials presiding over areas of high economic growth were more likely to be promoted. Scholars have noted that local and provincial governments in China were "hungry for investment" and competed to reduce regulations and barriers to investment to boost economic growth and the officials' own careers.

    Chinese economic reform

    A third explanation believes that the success of the reformists are attributable to Deng's cultivation of his own followers in the government. China's success is also due to the export-led growth strategy used successfully by the Four Asian Tigers beginning with Japan in the s—s and other Newly industrialized counties. The collapse of the Soviet Bloc and centrally planned economies in provided renewed impetus for China to further reform its economy through different policies in order to avoid a similar fate. The economic reforms have increased inequality dramatically within China. Despite rapid economic growth which has virtually eliminated poverty in urban China and reduced it greatly in rural regions and the fact that living standards for everyone in China have drastically increased in comparison to the pre-reform era, the Gini coefficient of China is estimated to be above 0.