Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Rise and Fall of Marxist Regimes:: An Economic Overview

The Rise and Fall of Marxist Regimes:: An Economic Overview

This essay has three purposes: to present a systematic overview of the rise and fall of Marxist regimes in thirty-three countries; to survey the most critical political and economic factors that influenced these events, particularly the decline of these regimes in the 1990s; and to determine the extent to which their economic performance hastened their downfall.

This latter purpose means I must focus considerable attention on the economies and the economic systems of these nations. Of course, none achieved communism in the classical Marxist sense, ‘‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’’ But the regimes’ Marxist ideology, which focused on this goal, rather than their political authoritarianism, appears tobetterexplainthewaythesenations’economiesfunctioned.Asshownbelow, despite the utopian nature of such an ideology, political factors, rather than economic factors, played the key role in the fall of most of these Marxist regimes.

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