Why did USSR stagnate and collapse when it was prosperous in 1960s

We choose to go to the Moon! …We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard” – John F Kennedy

What Kennedy was not including in his list of things to do in his famous speech, was that he was starting an arms race. 

This arms race was intended to strangle soviet economy, and was thought of as a measure against one of the biggest problems sending Kennedy administration running around in their underpants:

Recently declassified papers of Kennedy Admn. show a high amount of fear regarding how USSR was developing way too fast and that other countries (us satellites) would take them as an example and try ‘independent development’. Independent development being choosing not to be US satellite states and letting us corps to plunder their resources, and instead using them nationally to create an immediate betterment in life standards of the people. (Socialism, basically).

So one of the measures thought of was to start an arms race to divert soviet GDP to military industry than consumer industry. Along with other things like pumping radical islamism into middle east to control the oil and subvert soviet allies through that.

That stuff worked.

In 10-20 years, soviet consumer industry lagged behind. Visibly. This created the discontent with the consumer-side of soviet system. They didnt have any complaints with other aspects of the system – like total employment, total healthcare, total free education, childcare (considered the best then, and since then) social guarantees, retirement, social programs, state provided amenities like sports, clubs and whatnot and so on.

They thought the west had all of those. That the west had all of those AND consumer goods that they saw in bootlegged movies and when going abroad.

Of course, few of them knew about harlem, slums in major US cities, or hell, anything about trailer parks, project housing, or the people who lived in worse conditions in many places around usa than soviet siberia because those places were considered ‘backwater’ places and little investment (private or state) went to those places.

Even the east germans thought free guaranteed healthcare, education were a given in west germany. They were very surprised to find out the reality.

So basically this created the consumer goods slump and the accompanying dissatisfaction in ussr. Along with usa successfully subverting and taking over soviet allies through radical islamism or puppet dictatorships (middle eastern states, indonesia, african states etc), soviet economic relationships dwindled – which further exacerbated the effect of consumer goods slump.

Make no mistake – US also went bankrupt, nearly at the same time with USSR. Except, three things delayed the effect until 2008 – wall street being given a free reign to create nonexistent money (unregulated fractional reserve lending – bush admn even declared they wouldnt enforce the regulations on that), fed probably printing money like a banana republic (still doesnt let themselves to be audited, so no one knows what they are doing), and unprecedented US govt. debt borrowing. 

Surely, things like plundering the resources of ex soviet countries also helped create a temporary reprise in the economy. 

But today you see the real beast  – since 2008, the economy is in deeper recession than great depression, and no signs of recovery – contrary to whatever us govt claims.

So long story short: Arms race.

2 thoughts on “Why did USSR stagnate and collapse when it was prosperous in 1960s”

  1. “This arms race was intended to strangle soviet economy, and was thought of as a measure against one of the biggest problems sending Kennedy administration running around in their underpants”

    Excluding the premierships of Khrushchev and Gorbachev, the Soviet Union emphasized the military of the civilian sector.
    “Of course, few of them knew about harlem, slums in major US cities, or hell, anything about trailer parks, project housing, or the people who lived in worse conditions in many places around usa than soviet siberia because those places were considered ‘backwater’ places and little investment (private or state) went to those places.”

    The “YoU lYnChEd NeGrOeS” argument. Not that the USSR was any better since they mostly cared for the military the most.

    “So basically this created the consumer goods slump and the accompanying dissatisfaction in ussr. Along with usa successfully subverting and taking over soviet allies through radical islamism or puppet dictatorships (middle eastern states, indonesia, african states etc), soviet economic relationships dwindled – which further exacerbated the effect of consumer goods slump.”

    Well at least they didn’t attempt to blockade Berlin in 1949. You know that many critics of Pinochet previously criticized Allende for being a dickhead? Also, occupation of Baltic states because of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. US didn’t support Idi Amin at least.

    “So basically this created the consumer goods slump and the accompanying dissatisfaction in ussr. Along with usa successfully subverting and taking over soviet allies through radical islamism or puppet dictatorships (middle eastern states, indonesia, african states etc), soviet economic relationships dwindled – which further exacerbated the effect of consumer goods slump.”

    Was this a “PIDOOMA” (Pulled directly out of my Ass)?

    • The “YoU lYnChEd NeGrOeS” argument. Not that the USSR was any better since they mostly cared for the military the most.

      Well, ‘You lynched negroes’ is actually an argument. Even if it was left at the point of lynches, it would be an argument. But it went to the point of reinstituting slavery through the prison system, just like it is happening today – albeit indiscriminately.

      Not even about the state of other minorities, even those who were not seen ‘white enough’, like Irish, Italians, Puerto Ricans and the like, until later in the century – all of those segments of population suffered in 3rd world conditions or were discriminated against.

      And indeed, USSR cared about the military most, and yet managed to provide guaranteed jobs, free housing, free education, free higher education, free healthcare, free childcare, free social clubs, free hobby clubs, reasonable working hours, reasonable retirement age, paid vacations, paid maternity leave, paid a crapton of things. Procuring and guaranteeing these in US today, requires 2 parents working full time for 40 years in well paid jobs without encountering any issue/layoffs in well paid jobs to be able to amass and protect 1-2 million dollars of wealth. And today, even that may not be enough.

      https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2019/11/the-real-class-war/

      US didn’t support Idi Amin at least.

      Oh boy…

      https://www.nytimes.com/1986/12/17/world/paper-cites-cia-aid-to-amin-s-army-in-70-s.html

      A capitalist/neoliberal/fascist coup happens somewhere in the world, and CIA does not have a hand in it?

      Not in our universe. Maybe in some of the infinite number of parallel universes.

      But not in this one.

      Was this a “PIDOOMA” (Pulled directly out of my Ass)?

      If you can’t maintain civil discourse, your next replies may not pass through the filter.

      Arguments speak louder than childish words.

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