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 Thursday, September 19 2019 6:04am Hongkong Time

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II. The Stalin model of Socialism

  1. Nothing we write should take away from the historical achievements of the USSR under Stalin's leadership whatever differences we may have on his interpretation of Marxist and socialist principles, policies and structure. He succeeded in mobilizing the Russian people in defense of a worldwide capitalist support for fascism and the German incursion on the Soviet Union. Single-handedly the German armies were in defeat before the Western powers opened an active Second Front in Western Europe opening an era of the United Nations (though, at the same time, Churchill and the American Right initiated the Cold War in 1947 [3]). Nor can anyone deny the exemplary success in education, cultural development and the most rapid continuous rate of development that the word had ever seen, matching technical development in space, nuclear power, aircraft and military material and equipment and state ownership and the collectivization of agriculture. All this in the name of socialism and Russian nationalism -- for the Motherland.

  2. Did Stalin apply the basic precepts for building socialism as envisioned? This writer contends that he did not. Hence, they did not create "the socialist man" as contended in the late Brezhnev period.

  3. In domestic economic policy, Stalin ruled out the Law of Value [4] as applicable to a socialist system. Hence, planning was based on quantification of particular products, raw, intermediary and ready for use. It was planning based on use values, hampering true accounting of social values and losing sight of products circulated and surplused as well as no provision for repair services and parts replacements, since residue of any particular project was dropped out of any value system and unrepaired agricultural equipment stood ghost-like on the horizon. In fact, the war production manager, Voznezensky, wrote in 1946 that he applied the law of value in commodity production in planning wartime supplies of material and equipment as the real basis of their success. Stalin disagreed and insisted on nonpublication of the report released in 1947 followed by the execution of Voznezensky, my first inkling of systemic economic distortion in the "planned economy of the USSR." The Ruble was not based on any value system. International trade was based on international pricing systems; usually for raw products there was little other trade. Aside from rejection by the capitalist world, the USSR in its own structure was deficient in mechanisms for joining world economic integration.

  4. Private property was never legitimized; personal possessions are quite different since they do not enter the sphere of production. Variations in personal income were outside the official system; hence, initiatives of individuals remained unharnessed, guided and controlled by the planned economy. It was inevitable that contradictory economic activity based upon individual capabilities would emerge and become endemic, a condition which Keeran, in his book on the subject, calls "the secondary economy." This does not reflect the image posited by Marx since psychologically these individuals were not developing in a socialist mentality.

  5. The formation of independent corrupt Mafioso with ministerial collaboration would become a part of the system. While private property would be tolerable in the early stages of building socialism, the failure to incorporate it officially with controls and limitations left the door open to its own contrary development.

  6. As for participatory democracy, very few new forms were developed except in the area of the collective farms. Very little within the communist party itself. Socio-political controls were basically by command.

  7. Relations with Eastern European socialist countries reflected the command attitude of the USSR. The Soviet model was pressed on the national developments of Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Yugoslavia in the relative order in which they objected and deviated, resulting in Soviet interference in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. This did not improve socialism, though East Germany was moving quietly in new directions and Yugoslavia broke with the Soviet Union. The Soviet model failed to accept the historical materialist concept of development in particularized social formations, failed to accept pragmatic methodologies needed to ascertain levels and stages of development in particular countries, each varying in reflections from their history of feudal structures or the specific contours of their class structure under capitalist relations, all of which presupposed populations to historical and cultural reactions, capabilities and possibilities. In each country, the question of a value system was quite different from the Soviet Union because they had all emerged from commodity producing and marketing systems which had validity and required new forms of control and regulation in the early stages of socialist development with bourgeois rights -- not an un-Marxist concept. In 1973 the writer taught a course at the New School on "Comparative Socialism" contending that the forms of socialism in each country would vary as they reflect differences of historic and cultural backgrounds, but that the socialist goal and forms of individual and collective relationships would be molded in the direction of socialist image, you can guess the reactions.

  8. Are there contradictions in socialism? Of course. If we begin with the early stages in which there is mixed property rights, there continues the basis for class differences. If one recognizes that then rules, regulations and controls at progressive stages can be developed and progressively changed as the experience of collective, public and social ownership and control becomes more and more the dominant feature from stage to stage. Barring such an approach, the tendency of contradictory economic activity and group formations become a cancer on socialist development. This is not recognized either by Keeran or Azad, though Azad realizes in today's context that recognition of this problem is necessary without suggesting any solution.

  9. As for planned expansion of production, in the sphere of military, space and other advanced technological areas, the application of new systems took place, however, in the area of socialized production for consumption, the introduction of new technology to improve the individual productivity of the labor force was neglected. Expansion of production was accomplished arithmetically instead of geometrically with the addition of X number of similar production equipment to create the same X number of addition commodities, just build another plant or ten with the same equipment. Ultimately, even the workers worked by rote with truncated productivity with everybody being paid equally. There was a saying, "I work like I get paid," since their wages in Rubles did not reflect the true value of their labor power and its utilization.

  10. It is true that the Soviet Union was prevented from doing what the Chinese have been able to do, integrating into the world economy. However, where the Chinese had a window open in a new era as the USA sought to compromise and use China against the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union was not given the same opportunity. (In another context, a discussion of China's interpretation of basic Marxist visions of socialism is subject for another paper.)

  11. The question of models of socialism is not academic. As Marx said, the workers in each nations "will settle their own scores with their own bourgeoisie," though at another place in the Manifesto "the working class has no nation," is slightly contradictory and could lead to some misunderstanding on the national character of revolution and open the door for a Stalinist concept of getting directly involved with the working class political forces around the world.

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Note 3: The Cold War (often dated 1947íV1991) was a sustained state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, and the communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellite states and allies.

Note 4: The Law of Value is a central concept in Karl Marx's critique of political economy, first expounded in The Poverty of Philosophy (1847). Generally speaking, it refers to a regulative principle of the economic exchange of the products of human work. Therefore, the varying exchange value of commodities (exchangeable products) is regulated by their value, where the magnitude of their value is determined by the average quantity of human labour which is currently socially necessary to produce them.

Commentary and reflection pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA

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COUNT ON THE STATISTICS  100% Towels (c) Daniel Chittka
Photo © Daniel Chittka

This new section contains some interesting statistics in bribe and corruption, please check back for more as we pile up our numbers!

It's statistics time!  Using n-gram: kickback, graft, bribe and corruption - Comparison of their historical occurrences from 1810 to 2009 A.D.

  The word guanxi (collocation) and meanings of bribe: Deeply rooted, disgusting, sad endings

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Photo © Doug Logan
tagged by area of interestBY AREA OF INTEREST
Pragmatics: Politeness trends from the historical perspective of global trade
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Language acquisition:
A critique on "A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies"

Grammatical analysis: "When a linguist stumbled upon a Buttonwood"
Lexicon and the corpus: "John Sinclair's lexical items – an introduction"
tagged by regionBY REGION • Anything AsiaUS Presence in Asia
ChinaTaiwanHong Kong and MacauJapanKoreaSingaporeMalaysiaPhilippinesPakistanIndiaAfghanistanVietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and MyanmarTimor-Leste and IndonesiaMongoliaNew Zealand and Australia
tagged by topicsBY TOPIC • BiofuelRhino and elephant poachingAmerican movies hit China marketChina Internet censorshipChina's outward FDI opportunitiesGlobal rice yield
Island disputes in Southeast Asia | Senkakus-Diaoyu and historical findings | Dokdo-Takeshima | Spratly, Paracel, Scarborough | Kurils

For those you who don't have time to read all our news excerpts about the Asian island disputes (links above), you may find the following video, "The economic impact of a war between Japan and China", very enlightening.

© Minute MBA: More from

Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!

Photo © Igor Mukhin, retrieved from Wikipedia

"This trial is another example of the Kremlin's attempts to discourage and delegitimize dissent. It is likely to backfire." John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme

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11/16 Merkel challanges Putin on imprisonment
11/22 Maria Alekhina transferred to solitary cell
11/28 Tolokonnikova's appeal case goes to court
12/24 Extremist videos appeal adjourned

01/15 Masha's sentence deferment denied
02/01 PR civil claim granted right to appeal
02/07 Pussy Riot files complaint with ECHR
03/06 Ombudsman asks court to overturn verdict
03/08 Protesters detained in Moscow
04/13 PR gets reprimand: parole problematic
04/21 PR defense seeks abolition of conviction
07/26 Parole denied, PR remains defiant

The Knife supporting PR at Pukkelpop

08/17 Against verdict on PR – Day of Solidarity
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GLUCK ON SOCIALISM AND CHINA Asia (c) Robert Churchill
Photo © Robert Churchill

Professor Sidney Gluck (c) Sandi BachomI am honored to have obtained Professor Sidney Gluck's (right) permission to allow me to repost here some of his work and interview related to China and socialism. Professor Gluck is professor emertius at the New School University in New York. A classical Marxist, Gluck has been studying China for 60 years in history and modern development. He has lectured all over the U.S. and still welcomes engagement at the age of 94 – photo © Sandi Bachom


Usman Khurshid on Mike McCune's HD Monitor with Paths logo with Maartje van Caspel's Public Space
I am proud to announce that the website is now carrying the technology updates from Usman Khurshid's Usman is a network consultant and works in a mixed environment of Windows and Linux platforms. He likes to study about the latest advancements in computer technology and shares his views on his blog.

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COMING 2019 – COMPUTING CORPUS Active Network Hub (c) Phil Sigin-Lavdanski
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Oh, please do not get me wrong. This new section is not about computers, electronics or any engineering stuff, but rather I am currently constructing a new corpus based on Spectrum, the monthly publication from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA, from July 2007 to date. Having been a member for over 20 years since 1992, I am always fascinated by some of the terms scientists use when they talk about or envision their new inventions or methodologies. How many of them eventually come into practice? Could there be some insights we could possibly derive, from the linguistics perspective?


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