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Communism or Democracy: A Literature Review - Essay Example

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Communism or Democracy: A Literature Review

It intrudes further into the lives of people than socialism does. For example, some communist countries do not allow their citizens to practice certain religions, change jobs, or move to the town of their choice (Margonis, 1993).
According to Nowotny (1997), communism has been perennially perceived to have been but a -- certainly disastrous -- evolutionary accident on the road of progress. Once this error would have been corrected and once the communist system was removed, the countries concerned would, without any great difficulties, resume their rightful place on the ladder of economic and political progress. This would occur spontaneously. Errors could stunt or thwart the development. But, on the other hand, no special measures would be necessary to promote it. Markets and with them wealth; civic society and political institutions and with them democracy would install themselves without further ado. Some even claimed that this step back unto the ladder of political and economic evolution would be easier (Nowotny, 1997). Although communism is always seen as 'the big bad wolf', there are still studies that suggest that it is much better that developing communist countries to embrace communism first before venturing into capitalism.
Numerous researches argue towards the success of shifting governments from communism to democracy. McFaul (2005) cited the Serbian, Georgian, and Ukrainian cases of democratic breakthrough resemble one another-and differ from other democratic transitions or revolutions-in four critical respects. First, in all three cases, the spark for regime change was a fraudulent national election, not a war, an economic crisis, a split between ruling elites, an external shock or international factor, or the death of a dictator. Second, the democratic challengers deployed extra-constitutional means solely to defend the existing, democratic constitution rather than to achieve a fundamental rewriting of the rules of the political game. Third, each country for a time witnessed challengers and incumbents making competing and simultaneous claims to hold sovereign authority-one of the hallmarks of a revolutionary situation. Fourth, all of these revolutionary situations ended without mass violence.
Comparing present ex-Communist countries with those on a similar level of overall wealth, it is found that these countries do better, for instance in average literacy and education. Urbanization seems more complete. But Nowotny (1997) deemed that this comparison is a bit misleading. Because if we want to find out what Communism has actually done or impeded, we will have to judge achievements of these countries against those of others that were at roughly the same level at the time Communism took over (Butschek 1993, p. 27). Comparing these countries with one another today clearly shows: those that had been under Communist rule are worse off now. Communism was indeed an obstacle to political modernization and democratization.
Meanwhile, Adas (1989) in his important study of "ideologies of Western dominance", questioned the idea that the influential theories of modernisation that emerged during the late colonial and early Cold War periods were primarily new concepts created to 'counter the appeal of Communism' in the 'underdeveloped world'. In his view, although the theories of modernisation of the Cold War era were 'recast in development jargon', they were grounded in ideas which were 'deeply ...Show more


It was the 19th-century German political philosopher Karl Marx who saw the wealth created by capitalism, but he also noted the poor working and living conditions of laborers in his time. He decided that workers should take over ownership of businesses and share in the wealth…
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Communism or Democracy: A Literature Review essay example
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