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Hough - L'Cl CHAPTER FIFTEEN Conclusion MIKHAIL Goanacnev...

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Unformatted text preview: L'Cl . CHAPTER FIFTEEN ' Conclusion MIKHAIL Goanacnev was not riding an uncontrollable tiger. China affords convincing proof that communist systems can be reformed in an evolutionary manner for fifteen years at least, and such a period would have brought the Soviet Union to 2000 and Gorbachev to his sixty-ninth birth- day. Moreover, there is no such thing as a pure planned or pure market system. and countries in middle stages of industrialization normally have more‘government regulation and intervention than they do at later stages. Modern Westem'economies always combine market and regulation: they are “mixed economies," we used to say. Similarly, democracy at its early stages normally is only half-democratic. Transition to a fuller market and more comprehensive democracy is always evolutionary and managed and takes decades. ' I lri-ekplaining why events in the Soviet Union evolved in a more liberal, market-oriented direction. One must look at changes in society and at the imperatives of postindustrial society and the global economy. But in ex- plaining why events in the Soviet Union took a revolutionary course, I follow Crane Brinton. Mancur Olson, and Theda Skocpol in pointing to the attitudes of those at the very top of the system and the decisions they made or did not make, not pressure from below. Most who advance this interpre- tation of the last years of the 19805 and the first of the 1990s focus on Gorbachev's ostensible indecisiveness or his weakness of character. But as 7 Ye got Ligachev has contended. Gorbachev was not inherently indecisive. He showed astonishing decisiveness 1n consolidating power within the Communist party, spurring demooratization, abandoning Eastern Europe,. and destroying the leading party organs and the party apparatus. 490 CONCLUSION The reason for Gorbachev’s indecisiveness on economic reform and federalism was intellectI‘Jal. He had no theory of how transition was achieved. He distrusted the bureaucracy that would have to manage a transition, and he had an exaggerated fear of its power. He did not under- . stand that a functioning market depends on government and law. Least of all did he have a feel for what Crane Bn'nton once called the subtle “line in on .pnot to be :actualpractice of governmentbetween force and persuasi _ drawn fermaias, by ‘sciettce' or textbooks, but by men ski“ d in no art of ruling.”' Because any theory of transition must require strong govem— ment action. Gorbachev's beliefs also prevented him from accepting others‘ theories of transition, notably those of Nikolai Ryzhltov and the economists associated with him. i Gorbachev‘ 5 views and those of his closest advisers seemed to flow from the anarchism in Marxism and from the Russian intelligentsia‘s traditional distrust of government, business, and the militaryL-even the nihilistic fea- tures of the intelligentsia‘s tradition}I Marx never recognized that manage- ment and entrepreneurship were useful in creating and maintaining capital- ism, and his vision of socialism was also noninstitutional in its vague combination of planning and the withering away of the state. Lenin under- stood the importance of organization, but his vision of the communist future was as anarchistic as Marx'sBoth understood that democracy was a state. that it ultimately rested on the use of force. But in rejecting any state, they were left with the anarchist conception of democracy. Marxism-Leninism was victorious in Russia in large part because it was so congenial to the mind-set of the Russian intelligentsia. American intel- lectuals developed and propagated the concept of a broad and good 'middle class that included professionals, businessmen, civil servants (not “bureau- crats"), military officers. and even skilled workers. Whatever one may say about this as a realistic view of American social structure, American intel— lectuals were building a coalition. They were emphasizing the similarity of the interests and values of various elite groups with one another and with the broader population, and they were including themselves among the elite groups. By so doing they were offering cooperation with the other elite :- Ill-u In u 1. Crane Brinton, The Anatomy ofRevalurt'on (Norton, [938). p. 66. 2. Jonathan Steele of the Manchester Guardian emphasizes the nihilism in the Russian tradition and in Gorbachev‘s reform in Eternal Russia: Yelrsr'n, Gorbachev. and the Mirage of Democracy (Harvard University Press,yl994), pp, 269-73. VO/SZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 9T=ZT .LNEIWNHEIAOEJ-lfl stun 492 CONCLUSION groups rather than confrontation. This has proved a farsighted political strategy that has been very beneficial for American intellectuals. Members of the Russian intelligentsia. by contrast, have seen themselves as superior and isolated, alienated from all other groups in society. They have spoken of a conflict between state and society, but they have included only themselves andprofessionals in society. Capitalists (or the economic nomenklatura). bureaucrats. and the army have been described as enemies. and the noradithe people) as contemptible. A century ago the peasants were “the dark people." but by the 19805 the workers were viewed in similar terms. A perceptive Americanjournalist reported in 1981: My friends are convinced that sixty years of Soviet rule, which has taught schoolchildren to lie and destroyed civic virtue, have turned the Russian people into'a rabble. ripe for envy, violence. and demagogy, but not for responsible I citizenship. if the hated regime were to collapse ovemig‘nt, fierce nationalists would be more likely than enlightened liberals to replace it. if only because few enlightened liberals manage to develop in that soil. and few understand or want ‘ them. Even if something more humane were to arise. it would be torn apart by the _ dumb anger Soviet rule has incubated} in political terms this world view implicitly denies the broad coalitional strategy needed for evolutionary reform. It leads instead to the_situation bemoaned by Leonid Abalkin in the late 19805: economists and govem- merit officials saw each other as enemies (vmgr'). The view is compatible only with a policy of trying to destroy the position of other groups in the elite and hoping a good new society will emerge. For more than a hundred years this political strategy has been disastrous for Russian intellectuals. There are many lessons to be drawn from the story told in this book. The first, of course. is for Russian intelligentsia. In 1996 they were once more disillusioned with what they had created through their struggle in the 1980s. From their perspective, businessmen are Mafia. property is owned by the nomenklatura, bureaucrats are corrupt, and workers and peasants cannot be trusted to elect state governors because they would vote for the wrong candidates. Regions cannot be given powers 'of taxation because this would lead to the disintegration of Russia. Agricultural reform is impossible because the cities would starve. As a consequence, Russian intellectuals still are not thinking of coali- tions. They still are not developing reasonable strategies of transition to a 3. George Feifer, “Russian Disorders.”Harper's. February 1981, p. 54. I I I I I I I I CONCLUSION 493 democratic market society with reasonable concepts of the trade-offs and compromises needed in such societies. They still are not studying the experiences of China and the third world because they recognize only the most advanced countries in their most idealized form as models worthy of their attention. And once again other groups are thoroughly disillusioned with the intelligentsia, whom they now call democrats, besmirching a word _ that should connote responsiveness to people’s wishes—the opposite meaning from the one it has acquired in Russia. Although the intellectuals are beginning to be ignored and expelled from pow/er. Russia wiii not become a normal country until they become a constructive force in society. But there are also lessons for the West. The insensitivity of Gorbachev and his advisers to the institutional bases of the market and democracy had its counterpart in influential policy communities in the West, particularly among economists in the international economic organizations and the technical assistance organizations promoting democracy. The West lion— ized those Russian intellectual reformers who criticized all other groups as communists and nomenklatura and who espoused contemporary American institutions and theories. It encouraged them in all their worst characteris- tics. Moreover, it was Westerners who assured the Russians that the abrupt destruction of the old system would lead automatically to the rise of a good society with a fully functioning market. They talked of leaping a chasm in a single jump or the impossibility of moving from a British to an American traffic pattern by first having trpcks driving on the right side and then cars. When at the end of 1991Yegor Gaidar talked sensibly about taking a year to introduce changes, it was Westerners who insisted that he accelerate his program .4 The radical Russian reformers learned that it was necessary to lie to Westerners. to keep a double set of books, and to find scapegoats for the failure of their own (self-proclaimed wise) decisions. The result was that many Westerners retained ideas far more naive than those of the Russian radicals themselves. who were learning from mistakes. The basic problem for American analysts was that Western society has been too stable since World War 11. Its institutions, rules. laws, and incen- tive systems have come to be taken for granted. Economists and other social scientists assumed the permanence and stability of the macroeconomic 4. Anders Aslund, How Russia Became a Market Economy (Brookings. [995). p. 65. I I I l, I IV." r0/s3/To TQOITLV 3T9 XVd ZO=ZT lNElWNHElAOD—lfl T00 bill roles within which the actors playedfi Once it was concluded that the explanation for theslow economic growth in the West after 1970 was excessivelgovemment interference in the market, the invariable prescrip- tion was to privatize. reduce the role of government. get the prices right, and. ensure fiscal stability (or. perhaps, control the money supply). The govern- ing assumption seemed. indeed, to be the one expressed by the president of the CATO Institute in 1990 in Moscow: “Introduce freedomL and the market. will takecare of itselfli, The decline in overall rates of economic growth in the 19705. 19833. and l9905 has not clean; Similarly, as the great American political debates on the role of govern- ment and federalism that surrounded the New Deal and the desegregation movement receded from memory, the concepts of democracy and democra- tization also became very noninstitutional and ahistorical. Democracy was defined as individual freedom and free elections with competitive parties. and the implicit model was an idealized version of contemporary American democracy. The vision was not of democracy as it existed in nineteenth century England and the United States, let alone many of the democratizing countries of Asia and Latin America, which would have been more appro- priate for Russia. Indeed, it had little correspondence to real American democracy that scarcely solves problems such as entitlements or the deficit through shock therapy. ‘ Although the'word anarchism is discredited in the United States and has become essentially synonymous with terrorism. much of Western analysis, in fact. became anarchistic or semianarchistic if taken literally. The analysis was. of course. not meant to be taken literally: the rules, laWS, and incen- tives found in the United States were taken for granted. But when such a system had to be introduced from scratch, the need to give priority to the establishment of rules, laws, and incentives was forgotten. The same advice was given to Russians as was given to third World countries where these rules, laws. and incentives in large part already existed. In the Russian context the implicit anarchism of the analysis became all too real. West- emers tacitly assumed that rules, laws, and incentives would emerge like Athena from the head of Zeus. When the Russians asked for help on the transition to a market economy, Americans forgot the first crucial advice: 5. This was not always true at the microeconomic level. There was a keen awareness that changes in the tax and depreciation laws would affect incentives and therefore business decisions in major ways. get the laws right. get the short system right. get the political system right. think about incentives. ‘ Eventually the Robespicrres of the Second Russian Revolution will finally. be pushed from the scene. People are likely to come to power who understand the importance‘ol' the state, of clear and en forced rules, and of incentive systems that give managers a long-tenn perspective oriented toward production rather than seizure of property at any cost. In theory this is all to the good. A real market economy and a real democracy will never , ' ' ' " ' :I ' ' : ‘ :_i . A a ri 1-. l- 7 be estaolrshe - teasers use; the caste associates stood uy tne ‘ rulers are introduced. Yet the so—called reformers in Russia and their Western supporters have defined the market and democracy in very noninstitutional. antistatist terms. To the extent their opponents adopt the definitions of the reformers. they may be led to reject the general concepts of market and democracy. This would be a tragic mistake. It is for the West to begin developing theories that reflect the reality of Western and third world history, not doctrinaire models .based onrthe precorporate world of the early nineteenthth century. The West must put special emphasis on devising theories of economic and. political development that apply to countries at middle levels of development. for these countries in Asia will pose the greatest threats to peace in the first half of the twenty-first century. The Character of the Second Russian Revolution Neither the liberalization in .the Soviet Union nor the Second Russian Revolution was caused by the military buildup of the Reagan administra- tion.6 They were caused by changes in the attitudes and values of the Soviet elite and the rest of the population that were decades in the making, by the greater attraction for an educated population of what are called "Western values" and what Gorbachev called "universal human'values." As early as 1959 Edward Crankshaw noted major differences in attitudes between those in administrative work who Were younger than age thirty-five and ‘ those who were older. As the young men of the 1950s aged and rose into the middle and top levels of the elite. they brought with them their dissatisfac-j 6. By the same token. of course. events also proved wrong those American liberals who said that a hard-line American policy would make liberalization in Soviet domestic and foreign policy impossible. ' VO/SZ/Io TQOITLV 3T9 XVd €0=ZT tLNEIIlNHEIAOD—lll 200E 496 ' CONCLUSION tion with the old system, political culture, and values. Those who were younger were‘still more disenchanted. Many Westerners found-it difficult to accept that the Russians were a normal people‘and that education, urbanization, and occupational differen- tiation would change the attitudes of both the elite and the people as they had elsewhere in the world. The strong pressures being created in support of liberalization and democratization not only within the intelligentsia but . elm anaestheso-called panssratwere siren, far too little attention. : fimerican. conservatives in particular had profound misconceptions about the attitudes of those high in the Communist party and military hierarchies. The conservatives did not see an economically underprivileged and [politically repressed middle class or business class, but instead a privilegedlnomenklalura that was united in protecting its power and posi- tion; _ They did not see the differentiation that had occurred within the bureaucracy and failed to understand that individual bureaucrats often had fundamentally different interests from those of their institutions and would have unusual and attractive opportunities to pursue their individual interests in a time of change. , F In fact, the Russian people strongly supported democratization after l989.'When they finally turned against the "democrats." their responses in Jublic opinion surveys made it clear they were rejecting authoritarian dictatorship masquerading as democracy, not democracy itself. They were disillusioned by continued control of the regions by an economic policy that did not reflect public opinion and by the continued rule of the regions by the center, which Yeltsin had promised to end. The non-Russian republics have gained some independence, but not the Russian provinces. and that was and is a source of great resentment. Neither did the party and economic nomenklatura prove a solid bulwark defending the old system. Most of Gorbachev's radical advisers had worked for years in the Central Committee apparatus. Moreover, as Mancur Olson predicted, the hearts and minds of the people were less important to effecting revolution than the local Soviet government officials who controlled the purse and had the power to hire and fire. The war of laws between the Soviet and republican governments and the chaos it produced was created by local Com- munist party officials, not revolutionaries in the street And the defiance of the Baltic republics began in 1988 and 1989 when the Communist first secretaries were still in power, while the Ukrainian drive for independence was conducted by a party apparatus in which very little turnover in personnel had occurred or was to occur in the first years of independence. 1’. .l .v d] i '1. IIIIIIIIEIIIIHII CONCLUSION ' 497 There were many causes for discontent among the elite. The most prominent included the corrosive effect of education in destroying support for the restrictions on freedom found in the Soviet Union, and the growing dissatisfaction of the upper and middle elite with the gray egalitarianism of Soviet society and the low level of privilege in their lives in comparison with their counterparts in the West. The widespread travel abroad in the 1970s, including that of Gorbachev himself, was crucial. The exchange programs of the West were far more crucial in destroying communism than . .. . . .. . . a , . . . . r' :1 :- -.- . r. e :G A“ .__ - 11-25.: __-_ _§;n . n la: I seas-sis; 5-: one early :t-etls. m: :ncmasnagiy muercnua ed cine was also restive under the political dominance of those employed in the ggigi raw: 7 defense and heavy industry. The experience of the West and the Pacific Rim countries demonstrated to the elite that depression was not inherent in capitalism and that integration into the world economy was better for technological advance than was Soviet autarchy. Finally, the elite despaired of the Soviet system's ability to achieve a smooth and rapid transition to a service economy and the consumer benefits and social mobility associated with it. Their children and those of workers found upper mobility blocked by a System that best served the social mobility interests of peasants streaming into the city. . A final Western misconception of the Soviet elites' state of mind was that Marxism-Leninism had indoctrinated them in the need for authoritari- anism.T In fact. the doctrine actually was multifaceted. The young in the Soviet Union had, of course, not been told that Marxism-Leninism was authoritarian and that authoritarianism was needed. Instead, they were taught that communism was democratic and that theqessence of Lenin's nationality policy was the right of secession. Older leaders repeated such concepts cynically, but for the young they were the ideals that government was supposed to serve. and the ideals against which Soviet reality and later poli...
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