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Topics: Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin Pages: 7 (1494 words) Published: September 19, 2013
End of Cold War
Summary
1.Why wasn’t the commie system working?
2.Gorby’s reforms
3.Fall of Soviet Union & Failure of Gorbachev

Background info:
Soviet Union was made up of 15 satellite states ruled by the Communist Party. Gorbachev: Leader of Soviet Union until 1991. S.U. broke up then, into smaller, separate republics. Played a part in breaking up USSR. Did not cover up S.U.’s mistakes and problems. Correct intentions but USSR had too many problems piled up since Stalin, so he couldn’t solve most of them.

1.Why wasn’t the Communist system working?
The S.U. had a large supply of resources b/c of large land mass, but did not utilize them properly or channel them into the right areas, so they were poor. (Still part of ‘poor Europe’ now. Though the entire EU is currently poor actually lol.) Internal reasons

a.Insufficient economy
Inefficient economy as USSR used money wastefully
Resources not used where citizens needed them the most. People could not get basic goods such as food, housing and clothing. •Command economy: Economic system where decisions pertaining to production and investment are decided by the central government. •USSR’s policy of command economy showing signs of inefficiency as people’s needs not met. Why was the command economy inefficient?

i.Poor and slow decisions by the Central Government
C.G. did not always make the right decisions.
-Did not know local conditions in factories in diff. parts of SU -Local conditions all diff., as USSR was ginormous
Factory managers had to wait for the C.G. to set quotas
-Had to wait a long time for decisions
-People waited even longer b/c of that
However, factory managers in the west made decisions w/o the govt breathing down their necks. -Western consumers did not have to wait as long for products

ii.No quality control
Focused on targets easy to measure
-Easy to check if targets had been met
-C.G set the targets for factories
No targets for quality
-SU goods were shitty
-Customers unhappy with their goods

iii.No incentive to work hard
All workers given same benefits
Guaranteed jobs for life
Subsidised healthcare, housing, education
Less efficient that capitalist West as Westerners had incentives to work hard i.e. meritocracy

iv.Overspending on military, few consumer goods
C.G spent most of its money on military. Certain years, 50% of revenue on military as they wanted to be a superpower and beat USA -Not enough to make consumer goods that the people were in desperate need of v.Alcoholism

Cheap and easily available (VODKA)
-Few consumer goods available. People just spent money on alcohol since there was nothing to buy -Workers went to work drunk, produced shitty goods
-Caused men to be unhealthy, lowered life expectancy

vi.Did not improve farms and factories
CG did not use tech to improve farms and factories
-Could not catch up to better tech of the west
-They could produce more than Soviet farms but with lesser manpower and money

vii.Ineffecient transport and distribution system
Factories located far away from the resources
-Time wasted transporting materials
Farms also not organized
-Good harvest meant that crops would rot as transport system could not handle that amount of crops

viii.Basic needs of people not met
Command economy could not provide for the people
-Black market developed
-Officials who controlled the supply became corrupt
-Took bribes from people and sent goods to those who bribed them -Govt also lost revenue

Ineffective Govt
i.Not willing to change
Politburo was full of commie hardliners
Did not accept new or different ideas
-Saw these ideas as a threat to their power
-People could not criticise as it was a challenge to commie rule •Made it hard to change things in SU

ii.Conservative and corrupt leaders
Politburo did not pick leaders by ability but by bias
Led to conservatism and corruption...
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