Problems that Marxist theory did not anticipate were created by the centralization of economic power in the case of Stalin and Mao.
Communism had a set of institutions that were fundamentally different from liberal, mercantilist, or social democratic alternatives for the state had essentially absorbed both markets and property.
The party- state made the decisions about how these resources should be used, as individuals lost their right to control property.
The goal of collective equality can be achieved through mechanisms such as industrialization and social expenditures.
In the 1930s, millions of people died in the Soviet Union due to forced collectivization of agriculture.
45 million people died of famine during the Great Leap forward in China.
When there is not enough to eat people starve to death.
Half of the people should die so that the other half can eat.
communist systems believed that the market forces of supply and demand were incapable of distributing wealth.
The market was replaced by the state bureaucracy, which allocated resources by planning what should be produced and in what amounts, setting the final prices of these goods, and deciding where they should be sold.
It is an extremely difficult task to plan an entire economy.
The communist planners had to find a way to match all the inputs and outputs.
There are too many things to plan for in the Soviet Union, for instance, the materials included 40,000 to 50,000 kinds of physical items, and there are too many unforeseen outcomes, such as a factory failing to deliver its full output or needing to adjust to a change in demand.
Small problems can have a huge effect on the entire plan because most entities in an economy are interdependent.
A miscalculation resulting in the underproduction of steel would have disastrous effects on all those goods dependent on steel, some of which would themselves be components in other finished goods.
Things like TVs and cars are in short supply because central planning focuses less on consumer goods.
Worker incentives are a problem in centrally planned economies.
Since central planners simply indicated a numerical quota they had to fulfill, factories and farms were not concerned about the quality of their goods.
Workers didn't have to worry about losing their jobs or factories going out of business because under communism firms were owned by the state and could not go bankrupt.
The structure explains why communist countries fell behind economically.
The systems were stagnant because of the absence of competition and incentives.
The economy is absorbed by the state.
The market mechanism is replaced by central planning.
Universal systems of individual profit, unemployment, public education, health care, and competition between firms are included in individual property rights.
Poverty and inequality are not eliminated.
Most of the nation's production is nationalized.
The final question is whether communist institutions eliminated poverty and inequality as they claimed.
The Gini index for the Soviet Union and other European communist states was very low, even in comparison with social democracies.
Millions of people were lifted out of severe poverty because of widespread social expenditures.
The benefits were distributed in different ways.
Rural areas and regions with ethnic minorities were often less developed.
Private property did not eliminate corruption.
Communism created a more equal system at a high price, but significant elements of inequality remained.
In addition to reengineering politics and economics to eliminate inequality and exploitation associated with capitalist systems, communist parties also sought to reorder human relations, hoping to sweep away the old superstructure held responsible for generating false consciousness.
Religion was seen as one aspect of the superstructure that was hostile.
Religion numbs its practitioners to their pain by promising them that they will be rewarded in the afterlife for enduring their current suffering, thus legitimizing the inequality and poverty perpetuated by the superstructure.
Most communist countries suppressed religion.
Most places of worship in the Soviet Union were converted to other uses.
During the Cultural Revolution in China, temples and other religious shrines were destroyed.
Even if religion was allowed to be more open, it was still controlled or harassed by the Communist Party.
Traditional gender relations were seen as a function of capitalism.
Men exploit women through the family structure, just as the bourgeoisie exploit the proletariat, and sexual morality serves as a means to perpetuate this gender inequality.
Communism wanted complete economic, social, and political equality between men and women.
The repressive institution of marriage would be replaced by an openly legalized community of free love.
Despite Marxist ideals, gender relations only partially changed under commu nist rule.
In most communist countries, women were given more opportunities than men.