Essay: Communism Confronts Its Children

Attempts at economic and political reform in China, the Soviet Union and other Communist countries often seem to consist of two steps forward and one or even two steps back. In China the recent rash of student-led mass demonstrations is just the latest manifestation of deep public discontent over the price of economic reform. In the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev's position has been similarly threatened as the benefits of perestroika have thus far failed to match the short-term costs.

Although selfish resistance by entrenched bureaucrats is usually cited by reformers as their biggest obstacle, the lack of popular understanding of and...

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