I would argue against applying the USSR model on China given China has explicitly rejected the exact same model. And I am also not challenging whether or not the Chinese economy was 'efficient' or 'well run' but rather against the idea that it was running to the ground.Just to add some quality analytical detail to this conversation I am attaching a CIA report on their study of the Soviet Economy during the era of 1951 to the fall of the Soviet Union, and their determinations on cause and effects within the Soviet economy. Very interesting document, here is an excerpt:
CIA's productivity analysis took a major step forward in 1954 in Long-Run Soviet Economic Growth. At a time when production-function analysis was in its infancy in the West, the paper developed measures of combined factor productivity--the efficiency with which labor, capital stock, and land were used--for the Soviet Union. Especially noteworthy was the paper's treatment of labor quality, economies of scale, and the possibility of diminishing returns to increases in the Soviet capital stock. Factor-productivity analysis became the backbone of CIA's analysis of Soviet economic trends. Thus, Trends in Factor Productivity in Soviet Industry, 1951-63 (November 1964) found that more than half of the growth in industrial output from 1950 to 1963 was due to the "employment of additional labor and capital" and the remainder to an increase in factor productivity--output per unit of labor and capital combined. From 1961 to 1963, however, the rate of growth of factor productivity fell to about 2 percent per year compared with nearly 5 percent per year from 1954 to 1960. The paper's analysis suggested that the decline was not a short-run phenomenon "but is also, in part, a trend that is likely to persist over the near future." Estimates of factor-productivity growth in the several branches of industry showed substantial variations but broadly similar trends. The paper put forward several possible causes of the slowdown in factor-productivity growth: the immediate postwar recovery as a nonrecurring event; the rapid increase in defense spending and its claim on scarce science and engineering resources; the effect of declining rates of growth in investment on the average age of capital stock; and a lessoning of the pressures on Soviet managers to maintain output that prevailed during the reduction in the work week from 1956 to 1959.
CIA's Trends in Factor Productivity paper concluded that because the USSR could not continue to increase inputs to industry at past rates, the slowdown in industrial growth could not be halted unless the efficiency with which resources were used could be improved. The prospects for raising factor-productivity growth through administrative measures or partial economic reforms were central to subsequent macroeconomic analyses of the Soviet economy. The paper on agriculture cited above reached a similar conclusion--that factor-productivity growth in agriculture had slowed abruptly in the early 1960s and that future growth in farm output depended on a reversal of this trend.
A 1970 CIA paper offered an even more pessimistic view of the Soviet economic future. The Cobb-Douglas production functions used in earlier reports had a particular form: a given percentage increase in labor or capital resulted in a specified constant increase in output. Thus a one percent increase in labor might increase output by 0.75 percent and a 1-percent increase in capital might increase output by 0.25 percent. The paper, Investment and Growth in the USSR (March 1970), investigated a different production function, one in which the returns to capital declined as the ratio of capital to labor increased. This 1970 paper concluded that this type of function, when fitted statistically to Soviet postwar experience, indicated that returns to new investment were "strongly diminishing." Thus a change in leadership priorities favoring a higher rate of capital formation would "not insure even a continuation of present rates of economic growth." In any event, controversy in CIA and in the academic community over the appropriate form of a production function for the Soviet economy and Soviet industry proved inconclusive. CIA's production function analysis continued to be based on the more familiar and simpler Cobb-Douglas form.
Miss-allocation of resources, common problem with command economies, was a prime cause of their more detailed research.
Now granted we all have a DIFFERENT version of what exactly runs to the ground meant. in my head, it was how Commodus ran the empire, that was running the empire into the ground (or I would call it straight off a cliff) which I why I ask the previous person what he meant by that. Is an Economic Contraction one year running the country to the ground, how much of that contraction does it have to be, does it have to be sustained? Again, if someone wants to apply one standard that same standard should b applied across the board.