Kasarinlan: Philippine Journal of Third World Studies, Vol 5, No 3 (1990)

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Understanding Eastern Europe

Ricardo D. Ferrer

Abstract


The problems confronted by Eastern European countries are hypothesized to be problems of social construction and not of socialism itself. Moreover, they are mistakes or weaknesses of an incorrect theory of socialist construction. This is based on their premature self-evaluation as socialist countries. None of these socialist countries have reached the utopian socialist state but they were broadly applying the laws appropriate to that state and it is this contradiction which has brought about the crisis in Eastern Europe. Thus, it is this study’s aim to demonstrate the feasibility of a proposed research framework on understanding the developments in Eastern Europe consisting of five steps in testing the above-mentioned hypothesis in principle.

The socialist vision includes the abolition of inequality where, under this condition, equality becomes a reality. The problem with this vision is that it is utopian, even Marxists recoil from giving an explicit elaboration of the ultimate socialist vision. However, without abandoning the vision of a future society, socialism is made operational by a series of feasible structures of society. To avoid falling into this paradox, the process of construction must be consistent with the laws of social change. Only if each of the successive stages in the construction of post-capitalist society maximizes freedom, democracy and equality will the process of construction move progressively towards socialism. Until such time, Eastern Europe will tread the capitalist path.

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