What was the reason for the failure of Soviet-style communism more commonly Bolshevism?
If you want a clear, compelling and comprehensive answer to this question, the best person to ask is an economist, or a student of economics, because communism was first and foremost an economic failure.
To wit, communists fail to fully appreciate that economy is predicated upon the principle of supply and demand. Essentially, the Soviet government, "representing the people", dictated what people needed and forced its citizens to generate the needed supply in the allotted time. They would often never produce enough, and what they did produce was of exceptionally poor quality. Also, the grossly over-sized bureaucracy fostered what are known as "dis-economics of scale." In other words, it took more time and resources to produce less.
These are only a few reasons. There are others.
- Human nature
Actually it is probably human nature itself! In theory communism is the best system- everyone gets the same share of everything! So everyone would be equal! The problem is that no one is equal! Some people may be content with a life as farmer, producing goods for the community, but others want to amass a fortune and others don't want to do anything for society! So what sounds good in books, cannot work in real life with real people!
- Lack of incentive
One of the key reasons it fails is the fact that everyone receives an equal share. The USSR was plagued by shortages as the workers simply didn't work as hard as they could. In a capitalist society if you don't work to your best ability you get fired, so you have no money and therefore no food. In a socialist society as long as you do some work you will get paid so there was a general feeling of "why bother?"
- Good idea badly implemented
According to me I believe the theory of communism was never wrong, but I think the way that it was implemented was wrong. Communism generally considers an individual of a country to be an asset of that nation. Each person has the right to education, healthcare, to work, etc.
The communism in USSR failed not because the theoretical concept was wrong but because in practice the security of the state was more important than any individual. The individual then had no personal rights, but were ensured of free education, free health care and work.
Although communism is not present in its pure form we cannot overrule the benefits of the ideology of this theory, since it advocates for everyone and tries to bridge the Gap between the HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS
- Assuming men are basically good
Communist theory assumes that all humans are basically good, well motivated, and possess equal capabilities and motivation. This simply isn't so, and Communism never found any way to overcome the problems this assumption caused. In politics, assuming that all men are basically good means that checks and balances are unnecessary... and abuse of power is the inevitable result, with all rights and power concentrating in the hands of those in power. In economics, all money becomes the property of the state - in effect, the property of those in power. Once this has happened, there's no incentive for anyone to do more than they absolutely have to... with predictable results. The flaw in the theory of Communism is in its most basic assumptions. It can never work unless these assumptions are handled adequately.
- No price signals
In addition to the important incentives problem outlined above, and the problem of trusting a centralized government with the powers of life and death over people ("power corrupts"), there is a more subtle reason for the failure of communism.
It is the coordination problem. Prices in a free market serve a very important function. They are informational signals. Without prices, there is no way to know how best to distribute resources. Entrepreneurship is impossible. The economy stagnates.
- Power corrupts
The failure of communism is due to human nature. Power corrupts. If Stalin was not corrupted by his power, then the system may have worked. Also, since everyone would get paid anyway, they did not overly try at work and in turn their work was shoddy.
- Works on a small scale
Although communism had failed horribly in Russia, China, and Cuba, it has worked in small community/villages in Israel. It always has to take place in a small group of people, that way competition is never expanded to a nation wide level (that creates more competition).
The human nature always has to dominate and create competition. And equality is therefore challenged.
"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."- Animal Farm
If we, as human beings, are able to get rid of that it seems that would make all of the world's problems go away. Alas, it's not as easy as it sounds and seems that it can never be done.
Some people would describe communism "morally wrong". Their beliefs of success would be shattered and they would be considered 'equal' (referring to upper class). They would have to apply the same amount of work everyday and have no hopes of ever changing their position or wage.
The lower and middle class proletariat's favor the theory of communism. Most people believe that famous actors/actresses have an extraordinary amount of money to spend and yet, they spend almost all of it on themselves. In the hands of others, this money could be well spent on national hunger, improving current living conditions, etc.
Communism breaks the feedback connection between effort and reward. It fails to reward those who excel, and fails to punish those who lag behind. There is no incentive for greater effort, neither in creativity, entrepreneurship or hard work.
Communism is an idyllic utopia, a mere but empty expression of good intentions. It is a trite platitude. Communism says "Everyone 'should' have their needs met", and "take away from the wealthy and give it to the needy".
Communism fails to take into account that wealth is not static, it is created. By taking away wealth from its creators, entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and giving it to those that did not create it, don't deserve and don't know what to properly do with it, it destroys the engines that create wealth, and everyone is worse off in the short and the long run.
Some degree of community cooperation and social services is healthy, but it is a question of degrees. In this contributor's opinion, only education could and perhaps should be fully state subsidized, because it affords equality of initial opportunity. But that opportunity should not be squandered by an individual receiving largess from the state, receiving help from his community.
- Failure to account for human nature
Communism does not work in theory because it does not take into account human nature. Humans will not share resources or the work load in a fair and equal manner. Communism depends on a government working on behalf of the people and governments do not ever do that. They function on the principle to do the most for the least, and the least for the most. Additionally, every time a communistic or socialistic government has risen, capitalistic nations have conspired against it. Right after WW I, a couple of months later actually, the US, Britain and France sent troops to Russia to help undermine the Russian Revolution. Look it up; The Whites versus the Reds. At any rate, it would have probably failed anyway, though perhaps with much, much less death and misery had Stalin not come to power. If a theory does not account for all factors, it will fail. Nothing works in theory but fails in practice because if it worked in theory then it would work in practice.
Against ownership of private property
I think communism fails because it disenfranchises people of their own ability to create a goal, and this in turn to work together in a shared goal. Most state forms of communism have been imposed through violence, and people forced into the system whether they liked it or not. If people are allowed to form a goal based on their own values, then I think people would actually be willing to work together. This is why I think small communal communities have worked where larger ones haven't - people in smaller communities have ownership of a shared goal.
- Too extreme
On one hand: I think that political ideologies such as communism and capitalism only fail when implemented and managed in their most extreme forms. For example, China is communist. However, China's gravitation toward capitalism in recent times have contributed to their enormous global economic strength. Whereas, when they adhered strictly to communist values (Mao comes to mind) their economy suffered horrible shifts and devastation's
There were many reasons; however, if you compare real examples of communism throughout history and in the present day, these models do not in reality reflect a strict communistic model as first envisioned and written about by the various original philosophers. So to say that communism failed may be a little misleading. Fusion of Communism and the dictatorial nature of the Soviet government
Communism was a system not truly practiced in the USSR. Contributing factors were extreme political corruption, extensive competition with America which involved western sabotage of Socialist interests throughout the world, and Moscow's inability to accurately predict supply and demand.
The Socialists (later dubbed "Communists" at the Third International) and Anarchists may have had some good ideas, but the Bolsheviks co-opted many of these ideas, and presented a warped substitute which, instead of doing away with the State and a privileged class, created a new State and new privileged class. Yes, they may also have ignored some economic realities, but certainly had no problem with accepting German and American corporate underwriting early-on, w/o which their success would not have occurred. And, one cannot say that the "Western Democracies" have a truly "free market" system, as--at least in the USA--there is major "corporate welfare," significant dodging of taxes by the wealthy and corporations, and corruption on so grand a scale, as to make Al Capone seem a "small-fry." The recent bail-out of the banks and Wall Street is nothing less than grand-larceny...and a major reallocation of wealth from one segment of the society to another, something which capitalists claim horrifies them, when anyone speaks of Socialism.
Lenin was very clear about the Revolution being headed by officials of the Party, not by the masses themselves...so, clearly, a sell-out of democratic (and anarchistic) ideals.