Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “True Socialism Still to Come” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “True Socialism Still to Come” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

True Socialism Still to Come

In recent years, socialism has been discredited in the ramparts of eastern Europe. It is as if socialist ideologies have lost the right to cling to their convictions. Since the Soviet Union has ceased to be none seemingly has the prerogative any more to defend, for example. the public sector or campaign for the reduction of income inequalities, or protest against intrusion of foreign capital into their lands. There have been other setbacks. The wholesale assault on ideological beliefs apart, the petering out to Third World solidarity can be directly related to the apocalypse in Eastern Europe. The Non-aligned Movement perhaps had its early inspiration from other sources, but it really came to life because it found a role for itself in the years of the Cold War. The Movement has. to all appearances, lost its profession now that, with the cessation of the socialist bloc, non-alignment is deprived of its radiosonde. True, in certain quarters non-alignment tended to be defined as the propensity to move up and down on both sides of the street. In its quintessence, it nonetheless represented a certain dignity of thought and action and enabled the Third World to assert its separate personality. It also reflected a genre of courage. A defiance marked the demeanour of the nations who swore by non-alignment: “We do not have might; we do not often have resources oven but we are not scared of the rattling of the sabre by the superpowers; we have the moral strength to differ from them, to criticise them, to offer them creative solutions to problems which they in their folly have been responsible for in the first instance.”

The moral peak has disappeared. The Third World countries continue to strut about; nobody particularly cares for them. Surprisingly, many of the erstwhile major domos of the Non-Aligned Movement are not realising that the halo that came to be attached to their reputation was a borrowed specimen: it was because the socialist bloc had chosen to back to the hit the Western powers, including the United States, which had respected them.

The disappearance of the socialist system in Eastern Europe has had grave repercussions in another major area, namely, in the assessment of the role of economic planning toward fostering social and economic growth. It is perhaps bordering on tautology to suggest that the disintegration of the socialist politics in Eastern Europe has coincided with the crumbling of command economy. The casualty of the process, however, bristles with difficulties. A notion which has of late gained in strength is that it is the abysmal performance of centralised economic planning which was responsible for the socialist debacle in Eastern Europe, had the planned system succeeded in delivering the goods and services. If new generations in Eastern Europe had clamoured for socialism it could have been saved. This is a serious charge and deserves to be examined with some care.

The command economic system failed to deliver sophisticated consumer goods. It did not come up with massive supplies of colour television sets, two-door refrigerators, slick passenger cars and luxurious textiles and other fineries. It either could not, or did not care to study the transformed mindset of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Bolshevik Revolution. If failed to meet the challenge of the social convulsion resulting from the arrival of satellite television channels which made nonsense of assumptions about supposedly unbridgeable political and ideological divides. There should be no scope of dissembling here: that new generations in socialist societies did succumb to the lure dangled from across the borders. Thus, it may be said the system suffered from a debilitating deficiency. If neglected the task of building the socialist man as envisaged by Marx and Engels and Lenin. One can scan the syllabi pursued in schools, gymnasia and universities in the east European countries in the post-Second World War decades. The creation of the socialist man was, quite evidently not a part of the political agenda and therefore excluded from the academic bra. The emphasis was on assembly-line production of unalloyed technocrats, who were supposed to fill slots within an unthinking, unquestioning bureaucracy. The challenge of creating the socialist man was basically the theme which sparked the Cultural Revolution in China in the sixties. It had, however, few customers elsewhere in the socialist world. And in China too, it soon became the victim of its own excesses.

Once the satellites were marshalled in the cause of global telecommunications, East Europe proved to be the easiest of pickings. The youth in overwhelming numbers and along with them, significant sections of urban groups were ready to pursue the mirage of the lifestyle of West Europe and North America beamed by the electronic media.

A general uprising was thus almost made to order. In most of the countries, the system collapsed from within. What ensued came to be called Monday-morning-quarterbacking. It is relatively easy to heap the blame on the central command system for the collapse since the planning apparatus was in each east European country responsible for the overall production schedule and its breakdown into different commodities and services. But the puzzle remains. Did the economic command system capsize because of its own deficiencies, imperfections and internal contradictions, or because it was at the reviving end of wrong directives? Instructions transmitted by the top echelons of the political hierarchy were without question often ineptly laundered within the planning apparatus. Sometimes they were elect in a wrong way, sometimes they were amended or modulated on the sly to suit the convenience of functionaries at different levels of the economic command. and at other times data on production and costs were fudged. But the crucial major decisions affecting central planning could always be distinguished from irritant of this nature. For instance, the basic resource allocations, responsible for the tilt against luxury consumption and for the excessive weightage to defense and defense production, were always at the behest of the political leadership. It is the dog of political decision-making which wagged the tail of the economic programme, and not the other way round.

The occupants at the top of the political hierarchy were the final arbiters of two crucial decisions which defined both the long-term pattern of growth and the availability of different categories of goods and services in the immediate period. The first decision was with respect to the proportion of the national product to be appropriated for savings and investment (the two coinciding in a near-closed economy); the second related to the allocation of assigned investible resources among the different producing sectors.

Both decisions were in essence political true. The party leadership could—and did—solicit information and views from the economic planners which could help it to make up its mind. But the onus of the final decisions rested on it. If the consequences of these decisions were disenchantment, riots and near-insurgencies, finally leading to the disintegration of the system, these were the direct outcome of the political process at work. The leadership transmitted the orders. It is in response to such orders that the command apparatus produced specified goods or did not produce them, or produced goods that were not matched either in quantity or quantity by what the demand signaled.

Since the Congress, where party units at the grassroots level were represented, was the supreme authority, the possibility of views expressed not being transmitted to the higher or highest bodies was assumed to be remote. On the contrary, in such an arrangement the centre was obliged to obey signals from below. On the one hand the collective judgement that was formed benefited from the wisdom and knowledge that the leading cadres were invested with and on the other, with the practical experience and information gathered at the grassroots. Democratic centralism thus reflected the unity of theory and practice and contributed the basis for the formation of a self-correcting and self-redeeming vanguard.

The shadow, however, fell at certain crucial junctures. There are few doubts that the centralism of the kind delineated by Lenin and his comrades was violated many times within the international socialist political movement. It is a horrid chapter in the history of socialism. Democratic centralism was made to stand on its head. Democracy gradually disappeared, centralism held centre stage. The leaders, who were idolized, took it for granted that such idolatry did no harm to the tenets of socialism or to the functioning of the system. Once the spirit of democracy was enfeebled, lower echelons of the political–structure tended to be moved by loyalists and yes-men who would, in all season. do the biding of those superior to them in the hierarchy? Only the form of democratic centralism was maintained. The superstructure took the base almost for granted. What masses thought or felt on the major political, social or economic questions of the day ceased to be important. The views of the leaders were rendered into axiomatic truth and had to be supported by extempore empirical exercises that were often indistinguishable from plain cheating.

Whether, if democratic centralism were allowed the fullest rein, the command economy could have staved off the crisis of socialism caused by the mismatch between demand and supply remains an open question. It is nevertheless important to have the formulation right. The command economy did not fail the socialist polity, it is the latter which was the dominant element in the system that guided the impulses, and shaped the activities of the economic command.


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