ECONOMIC REFORM AND COMMUNIST REGIME SURVIVABILTY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
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While the collapse of communist rule and process of transitioning to democracy in the former-Soviet Union and its numerous satellite states certainly warrants the wealth of attention received, by no means does this signal that the history of communist state rule is ended. Contrary to popular belief—and even belief in academe it sometimes seems—Communism still survives. In fact, a number of Asian states still claim to follow the path to a promised societal utopia under the guidance of their respective Politburos and may be described as not only ‘surviving’ but thriving, experiencing economic stability and enjoying high rates of growth. This study examines the ramifications of economic and political reform policies implemented by four collapsed communist regimes which have transitioned to democratic governance—the former-Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia—as well as two surviving Asian communist regimes—Vietnam and China—in identifying characteristic patterns of reform that are conducive to regime survival and/or collapse. The end objective herein is to provide projections for the future of the Castro regime in Cuba, which faces a critical juncture in the future with the impending death of its charismatic leader. I hypothesize that economic reform, through consistent implementation, generates credibility for both Communist Party elites and their future reform endeavors. Additionally, reform packages that manage to successfully stabilize the economy bestow an increased measure of legitimacy to the political elite, allowing the Communist Party to maintain political control, thereby avoiding collapse and the transition to democracy. The third and final section contains general discussion and what conclusions can be drawn from the results, as well as analysis of the history of reform efforts to present in the Caribbean island state of Cuba.
Subjecteconomic reform, Communism, political transition, Cuba, Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam, Soviet Union
Nelson, John (2006). ECONOMIC REFORM AND COMMUNIST REGIME SURVIVABILTY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE. Available electronically from