The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was an amazing empire. July 1, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first earth-orbiting satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit (Humble, 6). The Soviet Union was then the "second largest producer of fuels and energy" in the world. It was admired, and feared across the globe. But on its inside, the Soviet Union was crumbling. The economy was failing. By the time changes were implemented in 1965 (Wright, 120), it was too late. Socialist ideals were also failing also. The Soviet Union was on a path that lead away from the stateless and classless future, called communism (Kotz, Weir, 2), which was their ultimate goal. When Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union, in 1985, he introduced a movement to attempt to reform Soviet system back to its original ideals. This was named "Perestroika" (Kotz, Weir, 2). This attempt at reform is what ultimately brought down the Soviet Union. This proves that we can learn from the Soviet Union that state socialism cannot ever work.
SE We can learn from the Soviet Union that a state socialism government cannot support an economy. The Soviet Union had an admirable economy. It rose up from a third-world country, to a major superpower. The problem with this economy is that is was extremely unstable (Milar, 135). Growth eventually slowed down, but the system was reliant on constant growth. The Soviet Union was the "second largest producer of fuels and energy" in the world, second only to the United States (Hewitt, 1). Coal production then peaked in 1978 (Hewitt, 2), and exports started to decrease. This energy crisis also lead worse economic problems, and eventually the collapse of the Soviet Union. This all happened because the state socialist economy does not work. Its unhealthy reliance on constant growth can never work (Hewitt, 6). The original Leninist system, before the Stalin reforms, might have worked better economically. This system, though, went against most of the socialist ideals, and pulled away from the ultimate goal of communism(Gooding, 13). This is a perfect example of how we can learn from the Soviet Union that state socialism cannot ever work.
CR We can also learn from the Soviet Union that state socialist ideals cannot ever be maintained. State socialism is a society where everything necessary for general well-being would be owned by the commons, and other things would be owned privately. The idea behind this is that people could go about their individual goals, without jeopardizing the individual goals of anyone else (Gooding, 1). Socialism was then supposed to take a natural shift into a stateless, and classless society, known as communism (Kotz, Weir, 2). The problem with this is that it does not work that way. After implementation of state-socialism, the Soviet Union naturally pointed back towards capitalism, as opposed to communism (Gooding, 13). Even after Stalinist changes to Soviet policy, socialist ideals were further off from their start then ever before. No matter what they did, the Soviet Union could not find the path to communism, with reforms ending up breaking up the union. This shows, without a doubt, that we can learn from the Soviet Union that state socialism cannot ever work.
ET The Soviet Union was in trouble before Mikhail Gorbachev, but it was his reforms that really brought an end to the union. "Perestroika", as it was known, was an attempt to bring the Soviet Union back to its Leninist roots(Gooding, 15). Gorbachev noticed that the Soviet Union has moved away from its core founding values. He then decided to start a reform. Perestroika worked fantastically at first (Gooding, 18), but socialism cannot ever fully work. Soon after positive results, the Soviet Union crashed. Within 2 years, 1990-1991, Gorbachev resigned, and the Soviet Union disbanded (Kotz, Weir, 2). There are many theories about why exactly this occurred, but it is clear that state socialism does not work. We should, and can learn from the Soviet Union, that state socialism cannot ever work.
!! All of this together firmly proves that we can learn from the Soviet Union that state socialism cannot ever work. With state socialism, the economy is unstable. A unhealthy reliance on constant growth cannot ever be effective, and we can learn from that. With state socialism, the ideologies are unobtainable. Where socialism was supposed to lead to communism, the opposite occurred, the socialism left the Soviets farther from a stateless, classless society than ever before. We can learn from that too, perhaps an overly capitalistic society would lead to communism. When state socialism failed, a reform took place. This did not work at all, and we can learn from this. Overall, however; we can learn from he Soviet Union that state socialism cannot ever work.