2

Update: the 3rd version of this question was deemed on-topic and kindly reopened by 5 members. It has got 4 answers so far and some of these have been excellent in helping me understand the political phenomenon in question.


I have now edited this (closed as too broad) question substantially for the second time to narrow its focus. The 3rd version focuses on factual matters relating to policy, as mentioned in the help centre, and focuses on one nation as recommended in the answers here by senior members. Kindly consider voting to reopen version 3 of this question.

Which redesigned policies have enabled China to survive the 1989-91 global communist crisis and prosper even while remaining a 'Communist State'?


(Old title when voted closed: why has global communism as represented by 'communist states' shrunk to 4 contiguous nations and Cuba?)

I need help to clarify this question which was closed as 'too broad' so that I can edit it into a condition for reopening. You can see what my essential question is -- Why have so many nations abandoned the 'communist state' and why can't communism make a return there: on the other hand, what factors or policy changes have enabled China and the few other communist states to survive the global crisis for communism? It is admittedly broad although I could not assess how broad is too broad here for lack of experience at Politics.SE, but how can I edit it to reopen?

Feedback and guidance especially from the close-voters would be valuable because this is my first question here and I would like you to suggest what modifications will bring it on topic.

5

The problem with this question is that it is simply too broad to be answered within the usual scope of a single answer on this website.

As you noted yourself, there used to be a large number of Communist states in the world. But trying to pinpoint their decline to just one single reason would be an oversimplification. You need to look at each of these states individually and look at when, how and why they changed their system. You will find some reasons which many countries have in common, but also lots of counter-examples where they didn't apply or were negated by other circumstances.

You could likely write a whole book about the topic and still just scratch the surface. That makes the question too broad for stackexchange.

The key event in many cases will be directly or indirectly linked to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but then you would also have to look at all the reasons why the Soviet Union got dissolved, which would be yet another book to write.

What might be within reasonable scope for a stackexchange question might be to ask about the decline of communism in one specific country (although this might be more of a topic for History.SE). You could also ask about one specific country which did not renounce communism yet and why they didn't.

  • Thanks for the valuable feedback. I had earlier summarised my question in a comment as "why have communist nations been diluting/abandoning their orthodox ideology and what political factors prevent former communist nations from reverting to communism?" Is this 1 or 2 better questions? – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 11:10
  • These two questions would still be too broad. "Why doesn't make Communism a revival" would be a question where you would again have to look at every single country in the world and evaluate the political strength of communist movements and those who oppose them. – Philipp Aug 17 '17 at 11:12
  • My point is, there is likely a pattern both in the decline of communism globally and the reason communist states are not making a revival, which cannot be addressed by asking a Q about one or two countries. Individual factors within each nation cannot explain how a large number of communist states fell like ninepins in 1989-91. Another question I can think of is "what ideological weaknesses led to the global decline of communism?" – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 11:13
  • As I said, looking for just one individual reason is an oversimplification. – Philipp Aug 17 '17 at 11:18
  • You are right that it is not one reason but a set of reasons. But aren't political phenomena multifactorial? If the focus were on ideological defects of the political philosophy I thought it would be a much narrower question because communist ideology is well defined and much-scrutinised -- moreover has not differed much (though not identical) from communist state to communist state? – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 11:24
  • Asking "what's wrong about communism" would be too opinion-based. Whether the decline of communism is an error in the theory itself or rather a mistake in execution or just the result of geopolitical factors is a matter of debate. – Philipp Aug 17 '17 at 11:29
  • OK... Since USSR used to be the global leader in communism, led internally by Russia, would a nation-specific question work representatively, as in "what political factors make it impossible for the revival of a communist state in Russia?" (corrected typo) – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 12:21
  • @EnglishStudent Still a very broad question, but it might have a chance to survive. You might be able to increase the survival chance if you show that you did some own research beforehand. – Philipp Aug 17 '17 at 12:27
  • Thank you, @Philipp. I shall read it up and edit the question to narrow the focus to Russia, as the most important representative of the bigger problem, supplying proof of research. I am prepared to ask separately narrow questions about different aspects of the problem, one after the other over a few days, because the quality of answers at Stackexchange give insight and context into the facts supplied by Wikipedia. Your patient guidance is much appreciated. – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 12:34
  • Since version 2 was deemed narrower but opinion-based, I have now edited this (closed as too broad) question substantially for the second time to narrow its focus. The 3rd version focuses on factual matters relating to policy, as mentioned in the help centre, and focuses on one nation as recommended in the answers here by senior members. Kindly consider voting to reopen version 3 of this question. – English Student Aug 19 '17 at 1:06
4

There are two problems I see with the question. First, the decline of communisim is historical fact, so asking why the number of communist countries has decreased is not a question about politics, but political history.

Secondly, the topic is very broad: Ask yourself, could a book be written to answer the question? In this case the answer is surely "yes".

What research have you done on this so far? It should be fairly clear that most of the decline in communist states followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, so you might guess that the USSR was in some way responsible for maintaining otherwise unstable communist states. Perhaps China is similarly maintaining communist states in its region of influence... You could do some research on this and include it in your question.

So, you could improve your question by asking about current policies and only one country: For example "How does China support the government of Vietnam?" seems a reasonable question.

  • Thank you. I shall edit the question to include details of research done. My point is, there is likely a pattern both in the decline of communism globally and the reason communist states are not making a revival, which cannot be addressed by asking a Q about one or two countries. Individual factors within each nation cannot explain how a large number of communist states fell like ninepins in 1989-91. Coincidence? More pertinently, China then began leaning towards capitalism and survived. Another question I can think of is "what ideological weaknesses led to the global decline of communism?" – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 11:19
  • If that is still too broad: since USSR used to be the global leader in communism, led internally by Russia, would a nation-specific question work representatively, as in "what political factors make it impossible for the revival of a communist state in Russia?" – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 12:23
  • I'm new here and need to build my mental on-topic map. Your first sentence includes the phrase "...is not a question about politics, but political history." and near the end there is "...you could improve your question by asking about current policies..." The first two answers to the question Is political history within the scope of the site? have thirty up votes between them and seem to say "Yes". Are you suggesting here that political history is in fact off-topic in some way, or am I misreading or misunderstanding something? – uhoh Aug 18 '17 at 7:07
  • 1
    Since version 2 was deemed narrower but opinion-based, I have now edited this (closed as too broad) question substantially for the second time to narrow its focus. The 3rd version focuses on factual matters relating to policy, as mentioned in the help centre, and focuses on one nation as recommended in the answers here by senior members. Kindly consider voting to reopen version 3 of this question. – English Student Aug 19 '17 at 1:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .