The Fall of the Soviet Union:
The collapse of the Soviet Union came as a great shock to the world in 1991. To put this more eloquently, “an entire socioeconomic system was dismantled and one of the two most powerful nation-states in the world dismembered, in a relatively peaceful manner, while the world gasped in belief.” Despite this seemingly sudden end to the super power that was the U.S.S.R., the fall was not entirely due to immediate factors. Many claim the actions of Gorbachev, or even Reagan, as the cause of this sudden collapse, but these actions were merely the breaking point of a failure that had been building from as far back as the Russian Revolution. The collapse of the Soviet Union was caused by a failed economic system. This failure was due to near-sighted planning and resistance to change, where failed reform, nationalism, and a weakened bureaucracy were merely the catalysts that brought about the fall. This thesis can be seen if a closer analysis of the history of the Soviet Union is taken into account.
Russia at the time of the revolution was still a largely agrarian society. The Industrial Revolution of Europe did not spread to the villages of Russia. Little of this changed during the revolution and Lenin’s short rule. When Stalin took power in the 1920s, he imposed a rapid industrialization of the Soviet economy through the organized command economy. He knew that to be competitive on a global scale that the Soviet economy had to close the gap with the rest of the industrialized world.
Stalinism, as his economic plan came to be called, was based on the rapid growth of means of production instead of consumer industry. In other words, steel mills and other material based industries were rapidly produced, while industries based on the creation of consumer goods were hardly expanded at all. The reasoning behind this was that if means of production were built up first, instead of to support the need for consumer goods, the...