1st Edition

The Capitalist Transformation of State Socialism The Making and Breaking of State Socialist Society, and What Followed

By David Lane Copyright 2014
    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    David Lane outlines succinctly yet comprehensively the development and transformation of state socialism. While focussing on Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe, he also engages in a discussion of the Chinese path. In response to the changing social structure and external demands, he outlines different scenarios of reform. He contends that European state socialism did not collapse but was consciously dismantled. He brings out the West’s decisive support of the reform process and Gorbachev’s significant role in tipping the balance of political forces in favour of an emergent ascendant class. In the post-socialist period, he details developments in the economy and politics. He distinguishes different political and economic trajectories of countries of the former USSR, the New Member States of the European Union, and China; and he notes the attempts to promote further change through ‘coloured’ revolutions. The book provides a detailed account not only of the unequal impact of transformation on social inequality which has given rise to a privileged business and political class, but also how far the changes have fulfilled the promise of democracy promotion, wealth creation and human development. Finally, in the context of globalisation, the author considers possible future political and economic developments for Russia and China. Throughout the author, a leading expert in the field, brings to bear his deep knowledge of socialist countries, draws on his research on the former Soviet Union, and visits to nearly all the former state socialist countries, including China.

    1. Introduction Part 1: State Socialism: the world we have lost  2. The Formation of State Socialism 3. Reforms: The Socialist Market Part 2: How and Why State Socialism Disintegrated  4. The Fatal Outcomes of Perestroika 5. Systemic Incompatibilities 6. Social Classes as Movers of Transformation 7. The Role of Exogenous Forces 8. The Move to Capitalism and the Alternatives Part 3: The Transformation to Something Else  9. Pathways to Capitalism 10. Varieties of Transformation 11. What Capitalism Delivered 12. The Reconstitution of Russia: A New Hegemon? 13. The Challenge of Liberal Democracy 14. Civil Society as Neo-Liberal Strategy 15. Stalled Transformation and the ‘Coloured’ Revolution Project 16. Reactions to Globalisation: National Capitalism or National Socialism?


    This book provides a broad overview of the development of state socialism, focusing especially on Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe, and including comparative material on China and other socialist countries outside Europe. It discusses how state socialism was first created, examines attempts to reform it, and explains why it collapsed.

    "Lane’s orderly journey through the failings of both state socialism and neoliberalism proves highly instructive." RAYMOND TARAS University of Sussex
    EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES Vol. 67, No. 6, August 2015, 989–1000