Could the USSR have ever competed with the US economically like China is now?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Mitchell Hundred, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    China's really only able to compete due to Bill Clinton and Bush II handing them our industrial base for free. With a surviving USSR to prevent any "end of history' type seriousness no reason for China to rise anywhere near as much.
     
  2. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    Would take rather longer for things to be shipped to the US from the USSR than China, anyways.
     
  3. Historyrookie Member

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    I think that the case can be made of a zarist russia that could rival the us, in mid XX century, skipping wwi. the potential was inmense.

    but the URSS? even without wwii is impossible unless central planing is abandoned. All central planned economies have failed (China is a very special case whose last chapter has yet to be written).
     
  4. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    Not necessarily. The issue is perhaps having the Communists not constantly nationalizing the succesful things. Early on when people came together to make farming cooperatives on their own, investing their time and money, the Communists would Nationalist those that were successful. Of course it happened elsewhere as well, like when the Japanese nationalized the Ryukuyan Sugar Company, which locals had put their savings into. Also how they broke the contract with, then jailed a man who was doing a test run on having local cooperatives farming and profiting off land. They had somethignlike eight times the produce of similar sized farms, but they were refused the portion of the profits the contract gave them. When a judge said that he was entitled to it and the man took a check tot he bank, he was arrested for robbing the state. And yah, need to cut off a lot of deadwood around the country, and get rid of a lot of the military projects keeping resources from factories making goods for the masses.
     
  5. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    Black military projects in the 1930s coming out of the heavy industry, coal, motor vehicle and railway industry budgets as a black tax effectively saved:
    1) nomenklatura rule
    2) the Soviet Union as a state
    3) a number of millions or tens of millions of soviet citizens

    While a less inefficient military may also have done this, most USSR conjectures are fascinated with continued nomenklatura rule.
     
  6. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    Prove it.

    People repeat this over and over as an article of faith. That doesn't magically create factories to turn out high-quality transistors in the needed volume, it doesn't magically produce honest data clerks to keep the system free of false reporting, it doesn't overcome the widespread culture of secrecy about everything (because secrets meant that bureaucrats who knew those secrets were indispensable and thus held more political power).

    I happen to be one of the more optimistic people out there, since successfully overcoming the Finance Ministry's resistance (and thus weakening the ministry's power) to OGAS would produce benefits that would be more practical. But OGAS itself could never produce anything capable of coordinating the whole Soviet economy. It would be at best a curiosity working in a handful of key industries and would be obsolete before it could be scaled up to any serious size.

    Do you have a source on that?

    fasquardon
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019 at 4:38 PM
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  7. Clandango Disestablishmentarianist

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    Stuff I read in the past in various places. Can't remember the names of the books from long back, but as an example for one it mentioned how an American pointed out (when there was a denial by a Russian) that America did send aid, including mentioning the English in the truck they were in, the Russian said it had been made for export. Looking it up, it seems it may have been the British who sent so much to the Soviets free of charge, while the Americans may have gotten raw goods in exchange. It is midnight for me, so I will need to look things up further tomorrow.
     
  8. Viralworld Éirí Amach an Ghealach Donor

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    It was more just speculation on my part given what I’ve read from “How Not to Network a Nation”, “Red Plenty” and more theoretical pieces like “Towards a New Socialism.”

    You make good points though, there’s obviously no straight path to an automated system given the state of entrenchment by the 1960’s - I was hopefully trying to shift the discussion to the potential for OGAS and CYBERSYN instead of the NEP which I’m of the opinion that it wouldn’t produce a China esque scenario but rather continue the strain growing between NEPmen, Kulaks and the independent peasantry, getting grain to the cities, etc.
     
  9. Sam R. Well-Known Member

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    OGAS has the greatest chance of success if the anti-party bloc is rolled between July 1956 and 1 November 1956 ;).

    But that scenario means that technical economists aren’t fighting the nomenklatura—Soviet workers are.
     
  10. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    I'll have to have a read of those sometime... I'd recommend this article to get an idea of some of the problems faced.

    I'd say the NEP was a little more practical than OGAS.

    Policies that would have been more useful... Well. A good one would have been to focus investment around Leningrad and Moscow rather than dispersing industries in penny packets around the country, increasing strain on the transport infrastructure and decreasing the scope of development synergies between industries... (The reason the Soviets dispersed their industry was to make them more resilient if they ever had to fight WW2 again. Classic case of preparing for the last war undermining a state.)

    I looked it up myself - technically, it seems you are correct - the Soviet Union indeed did not repay the debt, since they collapsed before more than 50 million or so had been repaid. Russia however finished paying off the debt in August 2006, some 4 months before the UK finished paying off its lend lease debts.

    However, had the Soviets not collapsed, it's not clear that things would be paid off on that timetable, given the disputes that stalled payment during the cold war would likely continue.

    fasquardon
     
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  11. BeyondTheBorg Well-Known Member

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    Really puts into perspective the drastically lower GWP of the Gumboverse, where China is just one giant killing field fought over by nuclear-armed warlords. By the end the US is a Balkanized, burnt-out shell of its former self in the midst of a nuclear civil war, and Europe is increasingly under the influence of a victorious "MBA Communist" USSR much as is described by the OP.
     
  12. MickCz Well-Known Member

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    But West Germany may have recognised the new borders, as they eventually did, in return for reunification under a Beria style proposal. And whilst the US government may not have given aid, US finance may well see opportunities for decent profits. After all US banks would have loaned to the (bankrupt) after WW2, but the opportunity was not pursued by the UK.
    The point about reparations doesn't really matter; the entire world expected that Germany would be liable to pay reparations. The matter still rankles with many countries eg Greece.
    However, I doubt that would have allowed the USSR to become a Chinese type competitor to the USA....if China is actually a competitor to the USA of real substance.....
     
  13. Mr. House Well-Known Member

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    ATL USSR never stops NEP and continues to develop along those lines with the moderates winning and Stalin and Trotsky losing after the death of Lenin. Maybe the workers control movement does better and some amount of democracy for the common folk is introduced in thr 1930s.

    ATL WW2 still somehow happens and the USSR directly annexes OTL Warsaw Pact by the 1950s. From the 1950s to ATL today the USSR is a democratic market economy with a strong social welfare human development focus.

    So it doesn't have the heights of American Consumer Paradises material wealth but that is countered with stronger social protections and safety nets for the common man. Basically a giant European welfare state with more common/nationalized ownership.

    So like the USSR but democratically socialist. If you had to be randomly born into ATL's U.S. or U.S.S.R. you'd give some serious thought to both options...
     
  14. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

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  15. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary it was far too centralized. The enterprises's worth to society suffered from not having enough competition from elsewhere to spur innovation and putting too many eggs in one basket. Without any competition the tendency is just to keep doing what you always have done and at most make a few small changes here and there as that wouldn't rock the boat. The problem with having one giant factory making everything (The USSR had that problem often enough) can be anything from the manager in charge being totally techno-phobic and a managerial nitwit who runs the enterprise into the ground to one huge fire or natural disaster that wipes out the entire industry until rebuilt.
     
  16. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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