Did Communism Help Russia and China Modernize and Become Major Powers Again?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,710
Communism took hold in 2 huge what had been close to absolute monarchies, which were losing power. Russia unlike China was still a major power at the time. Russia became a much bigger power under Communism. China was more unified and stronger internationally under Communism than before. China has been more successful recently while officially Communist but allowing a partially capitalist economy. Did it Communism in a sense work for those empires?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,762
SoCal
It worked but at an unnecessarily and extremely high cost. It would have been better for these two countries to experience modernization but without stupid Communist policies such as the mass terror, Great Purge, Holodomor, and Great Leap Backwards.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,692
Sydney
it did ......in an incredibly wasteful and cruel way
could the same results be achieved without the blood and terror is a question which will never be settled
I'm not sure about China , but for the soviets it was a pretty close thing
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,762
SoCal
it did ......in an incredibly wasteful and cruel way
could the same results be achieved without the blood and terror is a question which will never be settled
I'm not sure about China , but for the soviets it was a pretty close thing
The Bolsheviks also paved the way for the devastation of WWII to their country by launching a coup in 1917 and subsequently making their nation a pariah state.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,692
Sydney
which the Germans had some concept of exterminating and certainly went a long way toward achieving
but for the small detail of soviet industrialization
as for the Soviet being a pariah state many people through the world looked upon them as as the light on the hill
dumb bastards of course , but hope spring eternal
 
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Mar 2018
988
UK
Its helpful to break the question down, by looking at "help" from different angles and separating the communist and revolution parts.


1) Are China and Russia more industrialised than they WERE before their revolution?
Undoubtedly.

2) Are they more industrialised than they WOULD HAVE BEEN had the revolutions not occurred?
That's the more interesting angle, but it's hard to say as it requires a counter factual. If things had continued on their prior trajectories than Russia was industrialising reasonably fast (but slower than under Lenin, IIRC), but china was barely moving. So compared to the prior status quo, their revolutions helped. But it is entirely possible to imagine an alternative history where there is no communist revolution but other political movements compel them to industrialise fast, like the Mejii Restoration in Japan did.

3) Did have a centralised power, free of the incompetence of an ageing aristocracy and invigorated by revolution help?
I would say yes, a stark break with history often helps with massive economic change. Of course, the more violent and destructive the revolution is, the more that hurts the industrial base (not to mention the people).

4) Did the specifically communist policies of Lenin/Stalin/Mao help in industrialisation?
I'm by no means an expert on this, but my hunch is a strong no. Communalising farmland and equipment in both countries was a disaster that led to mass starvations. Allocating resources through a centralised bureaucracy is broadly regarded as inefficient.


In short, having a revolution did more good than bad, but the communist part did more bad than good. As a whole, you can only really answer the question if you have a good idea of what would have happened had there been no revolution.
 
Dec 2017
371
Florida
I think the communist revolutions hampered the industrialization of Russia. Through the early 20th century, Russia was becoming more & more industrious to the point where Germany was becoming afraid of being overtaken by the Russians. I think Nicholas II certainly was being dragged kicking into the modernization of the country. However, I think the revolution, the civil war that preceded after, and the planned economies that came after caused Russian industry to be formed upon a foundation of malinvestment that could not be properly understood/appreciated by a country trying its hardest to eliminate private property. TL:DR Russia without a revolution could have industrialized better with a healthier production base and one that could efficiently provide better for the Russian people.
 
Jan 2013
1,122
Toronto, Canada
The most charitable interpretation of events is that communism rebuilt the Russian and Chinese economies after first running them into the ground.
 
Jul 2019
164
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
I think the communist revolutions hampered the industrialization of Russia. Through the early 20th century, Russia was becoming more & more industrious to the point where Germany was becoming afraid of being overtaken by the Russians. I think Nicholas II certainly was being dragged kicking into the modernization of the country. However, I think the revolution, the civil war that preceded after, and the planned economies that came after caused Russian industry to be formed upon a foundation of malinvestment that could not be properly understood/appreciated by a country trying its hardest to eliminate private property. TL:DR Russia without a revolution could have industrialized better with a healthier production base and one that could efficiently provide better for the Russian people.
Divinespark,

Malinvestment is a fascinating concept to me.

Malinvestment - Wikipedia

Did you use that word with a specific theoretical economic meaning or just as a general description of communist investment policies?