By Joe Mellor, In house Reporter
With the fall of the Iron curtain and the rise of free market capitalism, the west had won, the tyranny of communism was over and the world could get on with what was important; making a profit.
But did capitalism win, or did command economies simply adapt to the new economic environment?
Full communism was never realised in China or Russia, they reached the point of an authoritarian, one-party state and stayed there.
The stateless communism or pure communism envisaged by Marx was never realised. The state never “withered away” and become obsolete, it became all-encompassing.
Putin’s cult of personality would rival many communist dictators, secondly only to Uncle Joe, perhaps.
China has almost total control over the internet and Russia has increased its stranglehold with its press, with a worrying number of Russian journalists being killed.
This is exactly the same place they are in now, even after over 20 years of capitalism. Corruption and wealth controlled by the party and its affiliates. Capitalism doesn’t appear to promote democracy, as it is heralded to do.
The means of production may have been sold off, but only to people closely aligned to the state. As long as you toe the line with the party, you can earn a fortune. Disobey the party and there will be serious consequences.
In Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky – the wealthiest man in Russia ranked 16th on Forbes list of billionaires – was jailed in dubious circumstances, after becoming a threat to the state.
While in China, Bo Xilai – a rising star in the communist party who had considerable business dealings – has just been imprisoned. Many people think it is a politically motivated decision.
The state will decide who can make money and when; no person is bigger than the state.
Despite this one-party, undemocratic system, China is winning the 21st century economic war. In a few years China’s GDP will overtake the US and will continue racing ahead for a generation.
China’s emerging economic superpower status is a direct result of its new hybrid political economy where the old one-party communist rule has been stealing the best of capitalism and mixing it with central government planning.
Both Russia and China are amassing a high proportion of the worlds’ fossil fuel and minerals.
As the west abandoned Africa in the 80’s and 90’s, as the danger of African nations becoming communist subsided, and the Chinese have slowly moved in.
The Chinese have traded African precious materials in return for infrastructure projects. The headquarters of the African Union, perhaps the most important political building in Africa, was built entirely with Chinese money, to the tune of $200 million.
Russia’s oil and gas production and pipeline projects have been not only a primary source of its economic growth, but also a geostrategic lever in the country’s relationship with Europe and Asia.
The country’s economy is clearly worse off as a result of lower oil prices, with growth forecasts recently been reduced. After all, it is the world’s second largest oil producer and oil and gas accounts for 60% of total exports.
But in the future, as fossil fuels become scarce, the west is likely to need Russia’s fuel. It appears the UK’s controversial Fracking plans are a desperate ploy to reduce the need to rely on the Soviet power.
In the UK it is not hard to see who the major global power players are, as Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “Britain is just a small island no one pays attention to them” and “Chelsea is owned by Russians.”
It’s true, rich British people can’t afford to buy a home in the most prestigious postcodes in London. For example, singer/songwriter Robbie Williams after a career of fame and fortune is worth around £100 million, while a six bedroom house in South Kensington recently went on the market for £105 million.
Robbie might just be able to buy it, but he might not have enough left for a pint of milk to give the removal men a cup of tea.
House prices are likely to rise, making them only affordable to the “communist” billionaires as well as the oil rich Arabs.
London property is a safe place to hide your assets if you get on the wrong side of the state. For the mega rich, the higher price the better.
In Britain, we are still doing brisk business with China, mainly in the premium luxury brands. However, how long will it be before they buy up the brands and manufacture them at home? Once they own them, there will be no need to return to our shores.
China’s economic power has been accompanied by an increase in its political influence around the world and will rise as a military power. It continues to develop its capacity for everything from cyber war to traditional military, naval and air power.
China and Russia both vetoed the wars in Iraq and the attacks on the Serbs were ignored, but in Syria they appear to have halted a military strike by the US.
In this conflict the US will agree to help look for “displaced” chemical weapons, but didn’t seem as keen to find Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Does this illustrate that the Communist states are the now able to control global economics and military action?
The west won the battle of ideologies but lost the war on the global economy. The free market has become the noose the west will hang itself with.
Communist countries were a military threat but never an economic one, now they are leaders of the global world in both senses.
They won and they are here to stay.