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posted on 15 July 2015

Democracy Prevailed over Communism, Really?

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Again, Greece, the cradle of democracy, has been bailed out by her big brothers! While waiting for the same Greek drama to repeat again in three years, when the current bailout plan runs out, let’s fundamentally question democracy for two main reasons:

  1. Democracy is failing in modern Greece for the same reason it failed in ancient Greece more than 2,000 years ago: debt!
  2. Many democratic countries in Europe will inevitably follow Greece to bankruptcy. So will America, eventually!

To truly understand democracy, let’s ask a basic question: did democracy really prevail over communism to end the Cold War in 1991?

Most Americans would answer yes, but the correct answer is no! Let me explain …

1. Overview

With the disintegration of the USSR, the Cold War ended in 1991. After that, most countries in the Eastern Bloc adopted democracy in a hurry, with a world-wide belief that “democracy prevailed over communism”. Not only is that belief incorrect, it has caused huge tragedies in the Eastern Bloc (and beyond) since then, from the Bosnian Genocide to Ukraine (Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S.).

Yes, communism was bad - there was no freedom, but abject poverty under communism! However, democracy brought no prosperity, but chaos! In other words, the folks there have been victimized twice in a row: first by communism and then by democracy!

How to explain all these?

Bottom line:

  1. Communism, by 1991, was indeed totally defeated. However, it was defeated by capitalism, not by democracy!
  2. Throughout human history, democracy without robust capitalism first has failed everywhere, without a single example of lasting success!

The main reason behind the incorrect belief that “democracy prevailed over communism” is because in the West, democracy and capitalism are often used interchangeably. It’s time to separate them for one key reason: China!

China was communist from 1949 to 1976. But it changed dramatically after 1978. Today, the most appropriate description of China is “state capitalism”, without democracy!

2. Capitalism

Capitalism has proven to be the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. Capitalism creates unprecedented prosperity wherever it is allowed, even in “communist China” (“Communist China”, Really?)!

More specifically, it was capitalism that propelled the West ahead of China about 200 years ago (America: What is China, Anyway?). It is capitalism that has lifted some 600 million Chinese out of abject poverty over the past three decades! It is “state capitalism” in China that will eventually win the head-on competition against American democracy, which destroys capitalism! For more, read: Pyramid Theory I, Version 3.

3. Democracy

Democracy is a failed doctrine throughout human history. It appeared to have worked in the West over the past 200 years because the West could afford it, thanks to its superb capitalism. It does not work in the West anymore for two main reasons:

  1. The rise of China as a formidable competitor. As a result, the West can no longer afford democracy, because its domination of the world’s economy is over!
  2. Self-destruction in the West (e.g. Same-Sex Marriage)!

Now, let me repeat: democracy is failing in modern Greece for the same reason it failed in ancient Greece more than 2,000 years ago: debt!

4. Why did communism fail?

Communism failed for one simple reason: failed economies without a single exception! Specifically, here is why communism failed:

In short, it’s the economy, stupid!

Specifically, Soviet communism failed for four main reasons:

  1. It would have failed on its own over time, since it is the epitome of anti-capitalism!
  2. China changed dramatically and in a timely manner, thanks to one wise leader named Deng Xiaoping, but the USSR did not, thanks to a dumb leader named Mikhail Gorbachev! For more, read: Mikhail Gorbachev vs. Deng Xiaoping.
  3. The pressure from the West (e.g. the arms race) had undoubtedly expedited the collapse of Soviet communism. But the Western “pressure” was not essential! In other words, President Reagan has received too much credit for his “peace through strength” in defeating communism! Additionally, President Nixon deserves at least as much credit as President Reagan in ending the Cold War. For more, read: Barack Obama vs. Richard Nixon and Three New Kingdoms.
  4. More than any other force, the student-led pro-democracy demonstration in China in 1989 had a much more direct and greater impact on the collapse of communism in the entire Eastern Bloc! For more, read: Tiananmen Square Protest and Put-Down, 25 Years Later.

5. Discussion

Here is an almost universally accepted conclusion: communism is terrible and it has failed, totally!

Here is what most Americans do not, but must, understand: today China is communism theoretically (but state capitalism in practice), while America is becoming more and more communistic practically! In other words, China is running away from its failed communism as America embraces it more fully!

Growing up in communist China, I know what communism is – been there, seen that, and escaped from it once!

For those Americans who do not know what a communist is, listen to Bernie Sanders. Yes, if you like Mr. Sanders, you are communistic!

For those Americans who do not know the relationship between communism and democracy, read this:

Unless America changes as I have suggested, American democracy may not even out-last Soviet communism in longevity! For more, read: Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism.

6. Closing

It was capitalism, not democracy, that truly prevailed over communism in 1991 to end the Cold War!

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