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Fall Of State Socialism

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 31-12-2010

Перев.: Belyaeva, L.A. (ориг.: Русский)
Мир России. 2005.  Т. 14. № 3. С. 105-141. 
In this issue of the journal we publish one of the chapters of the book of British sociologist D.Lane «The Rise and Fall of State Socialism. Industrial Society and the Socialist State» (1996). In his work Lane considers the collapse of communism as multi-causal phenomenon. The author analyzes the factors, which spread over the whole system and led to its weakening, as well as the causes of the changes, resting upon the assumption that there was no single cause or just one set of causes, which could have accounted for the disintegration. Lane argues that contemporary societies have to solve many problems in order to exist and effectively reproduce themselves. These problems can be analyzed starting from four basic sets of institutes and processes, which take place within them: economy, state, values and system of social integration. The important assumption of the systemic approach is the interrelationship of these systems: change in one of the systems leads to changes in the others. At the same time we can add another important factor. Contemporary societies are not autonomous formations. They function within the global environment and interact with external economic and political actors. Serious instability is possible only in case of simultaneous breakdown in several sectors and systems of interexchange. Under certain conditions there can occur a disintegration of political order, which leads to revolutionary changes. But serious system discrepancy does not necessarily lead to the revolt. Revolutions take place not only when there exist strong destabilizing forces, but also when the potential rebels possess the collective vision of the alternative regime (economic, political and social); when they have wishes and possibilities to depose those who are in power, and when defenders of the old order give up are eliminated. These circumstances were realized in Eastern Europe and in the USSR in 1989-1990. But the same circumstances were not used in China. In this article the author analyzes five main problems, which promoted the disintegration of the communist order: Mobilization of resources. These problems include long-term recession of the rates of economic growth and the development of the gap in people's «expectations»; Support of loyalty, solidarity and liabilities. Here we consider modernization of social structure: growth of qualified working class and cultural and social maturity of the population, that determined a new model of requirements, which do not correspond to those goods which could be granted by the state; Character of the system of political support. We find out the change in the structure of political elite, the emergence of potential counter-elites and fundamental change of professional and educational levels, which weaken the support of existing elites and strengthen the counter-elites; Crisis of legitimacy. Soviet political leaders under Gorbachev defiled the centralized command system in politics and economy, and afterwards it resulted in the disintegration of Marxism-Leninism. The renunciation of the ideology by the leaders of reformatory movement caused ideological vacuum; Interrelations with the outer world. Internal problems led to changes in the foreign policy. The foreign policy transformed in such a policy which led to joining the capitalistic system rather then to the confrontation with it. The West determined the conditions of joining, which influenced internal political and economic strategies.
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