THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM 1988-1992 MAIN CAUSES. 1. INFORMATION TOO TIGHTLY CONTROLLED 2. FAILURE TO ENCOURAGE FOREIGN TRAVEL FOR THE MASSES. 3. OVER-RELIANCE ON MILITARY SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY. 4. INABILITY TO MAKE CONSUMER GOODS. 5. ALIENATED MANY OF ITS PEOPLE BY OPPRESSIVE POLICING. 6. SINGLE PARTY STATE. 7. NON-CONVERTABLE CURRENCY (UNCONTROLLABLE BLACK MARKET). 8. FAILURE TO KEEP THE PEOPLE HAPPY. 9. SUPPRESSION OF MINORITIES. 10. DESIRE FOR CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE. 11. CONFUSION OVER RULE OF LAW. Any analysis attributing the collapse of communism to a list of symptoms is likely to draw disconcerting conclusions. Some of the same symptoms are to be found in many non-communist societies. All of the societies with a 'black-market' in foreign money are societies without law: that is, 'illegal states'. Certain states make a great effort to attract international condemnation. They will regularly call out the army to suppress rebellion. Just like the UNITED STATES, in Los Angeles, or the UNITED KINGDOM, in Belfast. Because of the great similarities between communist and non- communist governments, the points could be ranked in order of importance. The business of currency seems important, but Thailand shows that a good currency is not a guarantee against all of the problems of communism. Troops were recently called out to shoot the people, but there was no great protest in the world media. The failure of communist governments was so severe that the communist party has become illegal in most of the states that resulted. Social breakdown has also happened to a certain extent. INFORMATION TOO TIGHTLY CONTROLLED The people do not believe propaganda, but they also lose the capacity to believe the truth. All writers become corrupted, although it must be admitted that communism gave many a very easy life. A trade union for writers, with special access to 'hard currency' shops for the compliant, and jail for the dissidents means that the profession of writing must have great respect. Even un-talented individuals can become dangerous 'enemies of the state'. Some writers should always engage in a struggle to push back the limits of censorship. In the U.S.A., rap groups have featured in this conflict with the state. In the pre-islamic arab world there were poetry contests. The poets often sought rich men as sponsors. These contests then became major events which could change the balance of power in the society. The communists made the mistake of trying to secure a monopoly of information. Unfortunately for them the lies devalued the product to such an extent that a single word caused their system to collapse as soon as it became known outside its own language. 'Glasnost'. FAILURE TO ENCOURAGE FOREIGN TRAVEL FOR THE MASSES. The Berlin wall is a classical symbol of the 'Cold War'. The system which produced it is so odious that many want to extract revenge against its creator. Erich Honecker is again in the same prison where the Nazis sent him during their period of power. All of the communist regimes tried to stop people leaving the country. This was usually done in the name of trade protectionism, or national security. There is also some notion of 'racial purity' in the minds of those who really like to restrict foreign travel. The people who voted with their feet and got gunned down for it could receive extensive media coverage in a place like Berlin. There are many more mine-fields and guarded frontiers than there were before the collapse of communism. Many other oppressive states also restrict travel with no complaint from the U.S.A. Israel is just one of them, but many countries who want to force their young men to fight will restrict foreign travel for certain individuals, thus treating them as 'state property'. The crises that tipped the balance for East Germany and Czecho- slovakia were linked with foreign travel. Hungary suddenly dropped most of its border controls (for a short time only, in fact) and allowed east european tourists free access to the west. Normally they should have put these people in jail, and then sent them back to face further jail terms in their country of origin. Instead they just allowed a whole convoy of east germans to leave, and look at the West. There were also a number of 'sit-ins' in various embassies in Prague, and the whole issue of foreign travel had a de-stabilising effect. Eventually the Berlin Wall was torn down by the dis-affected youth. The breach of frontiers did not last long. There is already very much tension caused by the refugee problem. The E.E.C. was planning a highly computerised policy of immigration controls and this plan has had to cope with feared but un-forseen events. The refugees are no longer from Sri-Lanka, or Ethiopia, but from the former Jugoslavia. OVER-RELIANCE ON MILITARY SECTOR OF THE ECONOMY. The communist governments needed a vast apparatus to defend themselves against their enemies. They created an organisation called the 'Warsaw Pact', which could be used against percieved agression. The 'Prague Spring' of 1968 was suppressed by armed intervention, and was justified by a theory known as the 'Brezhnev Doctrine'. Socialism could be defended from backsliders by military force if necessary. This doctrine is still believed by those american communists who approved of the events in Tianamen Square (1989). Of course it is not only communists who rely on military force. Fascism and democracy also make a great virtue of military strength. The only industrial power to do without a large military sector was Japan. The use of atom bombs, and a peace treaty which enforced de-militarisation broke the warrior tradition for a while. Germany also had a peace treaty which included de-militarisation, but cold-war politics quickly gave back jobs to many of the german officers who had been involved in the disaster of 1939-45. Mihail Gorbachev renounced the use of military force as a means of defending socialism, and his popularity sunk. The leaders of the military industrial complex were most upset about this, but they could do very little since Gorbachev's main rival, Boris Yeltsin, also condemned militarism, especially in the Baltic States. Later he chose an ex-military man as running mate to become the prime minister of Russia. Other countries may rely too much on military expenditure without having an industrial complex. They are the 'arms junkies', or 'paranoid states'. Libya, Iraq and Burma follow this trend. [LIST OF IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS] INABILITY TO MAKE CONSUMER GOODS. Russia and China are different. 'Communism' survives in China, partially because the chinese can make T.V. sets in sufficient quantities to satisfy their own people. The russians did make a significant portion of goods for export, such as the Moskvitch and Lada. Unfortunately they controlled the distribution of what they made so tightly that the public could not obtain what they wanted. Cars and computers take the first place here. ALIENATED MANY OF ITS PEOPLE BY OPPRESSIVE POLICING. The communist states were keen to root out 'thought crime'. This meant that thinkers considered themselves the most opressed minority. Intellectuals and dissidents featured strongly in the manipulated media. Other legal systems also have their think-crime. In fact much of of the christian west has a legal system which contains a history of persecution and torture for think-crime. The english and the americans in particular have inherited much of this baggage. They never adopted the Napoleonic Code, which forms the legal base for many modern states. Attempts to ban propaganda and agitation meant the creation of a new criminal class. The borderline between crime and virtue became fogged when people would emerge from prison to take over the running of the state. This happened in most communist states when purges were regretted, and the victims of earlier purges were rehabilitated. The borderline between government and mafia was never so badly defined as in these marxist-leninist states. Since the police served the criminals, many of them became criminals themselves. Petty larceny and burglary almost disappeared, since most of the people who wanted that sort of career became policemen. In capitalist societies and democracies the government is more clever, and it will divide the dis-possessed, giving some of them a wage to oppress the others. Sometimes the division will be on class lines, or sometimes on racial lines. Such divide and rule tactics may also work on lines of belief. This often happened when religion was made into a big social issue. The police force always accepts the current ideology. The police are amongst the first to switch sides during a change of regime. They act as impartial servants of the state. Most state systems create enemies so that those who enjoy violence have a job. (c) tony goddard belfast 1992 So what is better. Maybe neither Washington nor Moscow, but Mecca and the new Khalifa ? ISLAMIC STATE Ideologies co-exist, and countries change their ideology from time to time. Humans have been obliged to live under a variety of governments. In the 1990s we continue to have all sorts of government. Anarchists tend to be rather cynical of all, but the question cannot be ignored. Which is best ? How do we chose between the winners and losers at the end of the cold war, and of course the aftermath of the revolutions of 1989. Shopping won over socialism while the rulers of the remaining wealthy oil states try, with the blessing of islam, to bring the best of both worlds to their citizens. FEATURES OF 'MARXIST-LENINIST' STATE 1. NATIONALISATION OF FOREIGN TRADE. 2. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. 3. FREE HEALTH CARE. 4. FREE EDUCATION. 5. SUBSERVIENT TRADES UNIONS. 6. SECRET POLICE. 7. BLACK-MARKET CURRENCY. 8. PARTY MAFIA. 9. ALL LAND OWNED BY THE STATE. 10. INADEQUATE AGRICULTURE. 11. LIMITATIONS ON SIZE OF PRIVATE SECTOR. 12. NO ADVERTISING. 13. HUGE POSTERS OF MARX AND LENIN. 14. NO CONSUMER GOODS FOR THE MASSES. 15. CHEAP TOBACCO PRODUCTS. 16. HASTY INDUSTRIALISATION SCHEMES. 17. WELL ORGANISED SPORTS FEDERATIONS. 18. HIGH STATUS FOR 'SCIENTISTS'. (INFORMATION ORDER). 19. DRAB AND AUSTERE CITIES. 20. NO TRAFFIC JAMS. 21. CHEAP PUBLIC TRANSPORT. 22. CRAMPED HOUSING. 23. SHOW TRIALS TO ACCENTUATE CHRONIC STATE OF EMERGENCY. 24. ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES THE NORM FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. 25. CENSORED PRESS. FEATURES OF 'THEOCRATIC' STATE (IRAN). 1. FREE FOREIGN TRADE (SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS). 2. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. 3. FREE HEALTH CARE. 4. LIMITATIONS ON EDUCATION FOR WOMEN. 5. OPPRESSED TRADES UNIONS. 6. UNCONTROLLEABLE ZEALOTS INITIATE PURGES ETC. (KOMITEHS) 7. BLACK-MARKET CURRENCY. 8. MURDEROUS MULLAHS FORM PARTY MAFIA. 9. HIATUS OVER LAND REFORM. 10. IMPROVED AGRICULTURE. 11. FEW LIMITATIONS ON SIZE OF PRIVATE SECTOR. 12. NO ADVERTISING. ???? 13. HUGE POSTERS OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS (EXCEPT THE PROPHET). 14. NO CONSUMER GOODS FOR THE MASSES. 15. (FORBIDDEN ???) CHEAP TOBACCO PRODUCTS. 16. DESTRUCTION AND LOSS OF INDUSTRIALISATION SCHEMES. 17. SOME SPORTS FEDERATIONS BANNED (CHESS WAS BANNED IN THE IRI). 18. STRICT CONTROL OF 'SCIENTISTS'. MOST TRY TO LEAVE. 19. BOMBED CITIES. 20. HORRENDOUS TRAFFIC JAMS WHEN THERE IS PETROL. 21. CHEAP PUBLIC TRANSPORT. 22. CRAMPED HOUSING FOR THE MASSES. 23. CONSTANT STATE OF WAR. 24. LAW IS BASED ON ONE MAN EQUALS TWO WOMEN. 25. CENSORED PRESS.
FEATURES OF 'DEMOCRATIC CAPITALIST INDUSTRIAL' STATE (USA). 1. TARIFF BARRIERS ADJUST FOREIGN TRADE. 2. FEW TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS. 3. EXPENSIVE HEALTH CARE. 4. LIMITATIONS ON EDUCATION FOR THE POOR. 5. TRADES UNIONS ARE LEGAL. 6. POLICE SUBJECT TO SOME DEMOCRATIC CONTROLS. 7. CONVERTIBLE CURRENCIES. 8. MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX (MURDEROUS MULTINATIONALS). 9. CONCENTRATION OF LAND TOWARDS THE RICH. 10. IMPROVED AGRICULTURE. 11. LIMITATIONS ON SIZE OF PRIVATE SECTOR STACKED AGAINST NEWCOMERS. 12. ADVERTISING AND DISINFORMATION. 13. HUGE POSTERS ENCOURAGING CONSUMPTION. 14. CONSUMER GOODS FOR THE MASSES. 15. EXPENSIVE AND DISCOURAGED TOBACCO PRODUCTS. 16. DECLINING INDUSTRIALISATION SCHEMES. 17. SPORTS FEDERATIONS UNEVENLY FUNDED, AND FOLLOW BUSINESS SPONSORS. 18. HIGH IMPORTATION OF SCIENTISTS, WHO HAVE 'LOW STATUS'. 19. RIOT TORN INNER CITIES. 20. HORRENDOUS TRAFFIC JAMS. 21. AWKWARD PUBLIC TRANSPORT. 22. CRAMPED HOUSING FOR THE MASSES. 23. CONSTANT STATE OF (EMERGENCY) WAR. 24. MOST LAWS MADE BY MEN. 25. FREE PRESS. So what should the islamic state offer ? Economic security, and education. Laws which are not made by men ? The laws come from allah of course, not men. Survival stratagies are also there. Are these laws ? So we have choices amongst others: (1) Marx-Leninist state. The only forms widely publicised were the State-capitalist entities like China or the former USSR. (2) Islamic states. People think more of the Islamic Republic of Iran, although it should be remembered that the old Ottoman empire was run as a sort of islamic state, with a caliph, and kadis. Until the turks were pushed into the first world war (and they did not really volunteer) the government had been trying to develop democratic institutions. At least they were not under british tutelage. (3) Liberal-Democratic-capitalist state. This is what they are trying to sell you. It is like the question asked to would be islamic theology students: Q: Which is better, Lucky Strike, or Marlborough ? A: Neither are good. The consumption of cigarettes is sinful. The story goes that a bunch of afro-asian students in the saudi theological colleges were asked this question. Those who failed the test were expelled, and later on they found studentships in iranian colleges. (c) tony goddard belfast 1992Top of Page
At present national administrations range from complete chaos in places such as Somalia to intelligently run city states such as Singapore.
SOCIAL STATISTICS The European Union attempts to give a social portrait of Europe by the selective presentation of statistics. They printed an expensive but rather useless book. Headings included DEMOGRAPHY, HOUSEHOLDS, EDUCATION, LABOUR STATISTICS WORKING CONDITIONS, LIVING STANDARD, SOCIAL PROTECTION HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT, HOUSING, LEISURE, EUROPARTICIPATION What is missing ? Raw data, in tabular form. They give graphics. Many printed forms of statistics now give the bar charts rather than the raw data. Models for projection, or analysis. Few formulae are presented. The reason of course is that most formulae used by financial gurus and government consultants don't work. How can the material be made more interesting ? Link the statistics with points from the collapse of communism. Military line up, or arms factories. Car ownership, and bicycle use. prostitution. Black economy versus white economy. East European communist states imploded in 1989.There are possible predictors of social collapse/social cohesion. Many people have died because they failed to become refugees in good time. Economic migrants are often the wise who see the writing on the wall. That is why many governments do not want them.
Intergovernmental organisations such as the UN, WHO, WORLD BANK etc set up task forces to deal with signs of social disintegration such as Aids and Drug Trafficking.
But what about working conditions? Many big corporations do not realise that keeping people happy may help to increase their profits. Instead, they alienate sections of their workforce by the introduction of DRUG TESTING. If you know of any employers or organisations with drug testing policies, then please take the time to inform us all and add to the EMPLOYER BLACK LIST.
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INFO STATISTICS. HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 1995 UNDP HDI = Human Development Index The Al-Haq HDI uses literacy rates. Further analysis is required, because there have been spectacular collapses in literate societies. Nazi Germany, Israel and the former Jugoslavia spring to mind. Also the Al-Haq HDI needs further testing by backwards estimation of literacy rates. There are also great divisions between people on the availability of books. Many african nations cannot afford books or paper anyway while in the North people receive junk mail often describing complex financial services which neither the writer nor the reader are really meant to understand. Literacy rates may fall, as well as rise. Where statistics are subject to political manipulation this may not be immediately apparent. Literacy rates depend on other things besides cash investment in teaching. The language may be too difficult for many, like chinese, or bengali. Literacy in more than one language is a 'tail' phenomenon: that is it only affects a very small percentage of the poulation. But multi- literacy is influential for a nations' commercial and imperial relations. OWNERSHIP:: DISTRIBUTION :: CENSORSHIP :: Moral | Political |Religious |Commercial AIR TRAVEL STATISTICS Number of tickets to EEC Number of transcontinental tickets. Tourist destinations. EXPLOSIVES AND CHEMICAL FACTORIES If Iraqi and Libyan factories are open for inspection, then so are EEC. Tank and weapons plants. Insecticide plants. CONSUMER GOODS Electronics factories. Sources of silicon chips. - Some of this, but include more data, with industry classification. - Centers of government, as a service. Imported industrial centers. Japanese or US controlled. Printers CD players. Cars Clothes Video and TV sets. OPRESSIVE POLICING Size and frequency of military parades (armed propaganda incidents) Size of police force as an industry to create crime. Density of curruption charges. Legal assassinations. Legal Hashish. Control of identity, as a frequency. Number of poets in jail.
Select for a discription of the cannabis book law case
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SINGLE PARTY STATE Composition of political spectrum. Parliaments with significant seccessionist tendency. Tendency to military rule. Presence of religious parties. Frequency of government change. Nomenclatura, or party rewardees. NON-CONVERTABLE CURRENCY Relative fiscal statistics. Inflation. FAILURE TO KEEP THE PEOPLE HAPPY. Suicide rates Days lost by strikes SUPPRESSION OF MINORITIES. Areas with seccessionist tendency Areas with racist incidents DESIRE FOR CHANGE BY THE PEOPLE. Areas with large mass demonstrations CONFUSION OVER RULE OF LAW. Ownership of resources Illegal government actions. Too much military spending is bad for health. The chemical and explosives industry needs other commercial outlets. Al-Haq gives a ratio: social+health:: military expenditure. This ratio is plotted for many countries. SEX INDUSTRY STATISTICS. Sex is very important in health. Pregnancy is often the first point of contact with a specialist doctor. It is often the first time a woman is told about birth control. While men go to work on construction sites, women often end up working in bars. Chinese migration to america in 1800-1900 saw many prostitutes going out. Some mafia style organisations are involved in sex-tourism. Sex tourism aims to involve sex without pregnency. V.D. doctors advertise alongside the massage parlours. What about AIDS ? The more ambitious will offer cures to the disease. The war industry can get into motion with insecticides. These themselves cause health problems. The company owners can then provide private police to control leaks of information and so on, and promise the government their help in creating fire power when the next war comes. The famous german industry which gave us sulfonamides gave us slave labour in the concentration camps. Censorship is bad for public health. Telling the truth about bad news may be restricted to certain elite groups. Politicians and to a certain extent diplomats like to fudge the truth. Governments can chose.
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Notes: Amartya Sen believes modern economic statistics do not give a good picture of the world. 'The Economics of Life and Death'. Scientific American, May 1993. Amartya Sen adds that famines occur best where there is a media blackout, and so no one feels that any intervention is necessary. Figures on CD-ROM Examples. Pounds Sterling c 1992 ABC TRAVEL DISC -- AIRLINE SCHEDULES 325 GERMAN TELEPHONES 3 DISKS 2845 J+W COMMDISC (JW) WW TELEX/FAX LIST 1770 INFOMAGIC (IM) DOS + UNIX 165 GLOBAL DEFENSE (TEL) 2000 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK (QP) 85 Low price WORLD ATLAS (ST) 85 BOOKFIND (BKD) 150 Single issue BOOKS IN PRINT PLUS (BOW) USA 820 + INTERNATIONAL BOOKS IN PRINT (BOW) 550 WORLD BOOKS IN PRINT PLUS (BOW) ptba (c) tony goddard belfast 1992Top of Page