Why was Socialism popular in the 1960s and 1970s in the Third World Essay

According to Newman, socialism may be defined as a set of economic theories of social organization that advocate for public/state ownership and administration of the means of production and also the distribution of goods. Socialism is also used to describe societies characterized by the equality of the individuals therein (2005). While socialism and capitalism are two different ideologies, socialism can to develop out of the failures of capitalism.

Socialism is unlike capitalism in that in capitalism, there is private ownership of the means of production and widespread inequality which then lead to social differentiation and the rise of social classes. Socialism may then be described as a theory of social reorganization whose aim is the reconstruction of society such that the division of labor and property is both fair and equitable. Accordingly, the end purpose of socialism is two pronged. To bring together humanity and also to solve societal problems by building a society that is able to satisfy the universal need for teamwork and material security (What socialism means, 1973).

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It is important to understand that there are many varieties of socialism. Some of these varieties tolerate capitalism but only as long as the government is able to sustain its principal influence over the economy (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009). History of Socialism Socialism is said to have been borrowed by the English from the French in the 1800’s. Nevertheless, the materialization of socialist ideas and ideals in France and Britain, is said to be as result of the industrial revolution that the countries underwent. The development of industries led to the establishment of the working class, who were also referred to as the proletariat.

This group had to sell their labor to survive. In the end, the desolation of these industrial workers, in what was largely uncontrolled economies, is what provoked their anger. In the end, their anger led them to put together what was described as socialist principles as a way of producing wealth without exploiting the workers (Knowledgerush, 2003). The modern form of socialism is said to have its origin from the late 19th century. The intellectual and political movements of the time were criticizing the effects of industrialization and the private ownership of property.

According to Karl Marx, the only way that socialism would be achieved, and social classes abolished, was for a class revolution to take place. The proletariats would have to fight the capitalists/land owners, abolish the state and establish a society where there was not equity of the masses but also, all the means/factors of production, land, labor and capital, were owned not by private individuals but the state (2002). Difference between Communism and Socialism. There is the general misconception among people that socialism is also communism. However, the two are essentially two very different ideological doctrines.

It is to be noted that socialism and communism are alike in one aspect. They are both based on the principle that the means of production (land, labor and capital) plus the goods and services produced in an economy/country should be publicly owned and controlled by some central organization. However, to Partington, it is important to note that while socialism asserts that the distribution of the means and fruits of production should be carried out taking into consideration the amount of individual effort, communism asserts that all goods and services are to be produced as per individual need.

Again, whereas socialism seeks to have many individuals, from the population, as possible for purposes of influencing just how the economy of a particular country works, communism on the other hand is bent on concentrating the role in a smaller group of people. Thus, therein is where the difference lies (2009). In most instances, communism is regarded as the step from socialism. Therefore, communism is a much higher level than socialism. Hence, while all communists may also be socialists, not all socialists are communists.

Definition of Third World According to Chaliand, the term third world is used in the description of the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and also Oceania. These countries share certain characteristics such as rampant poverty, high birth rates, low life expectancy, high death rates and the majority of the people do not have access to basic needs such as food clothing or shelter. More over, these countries are dependent on the developed/industrialized nations.

Other characteristics of third world countries include high illiteracy and disease rates, high population growth and unstable governments. To a great extent, the term third world is used in the description of the underdeveloped countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia that were at one time colonies of the now developed/industrialized nations (N. d. ). Socialism in the Third World According to O’ Connor, socialism in third world countries covered the 40 year period between 1940’s to the 1980’s. It gained popularity in the 60’s and 70’s (2004).

According to Sachs, socialists were for a long time the biggest critiques of capitalist development. It appeared that capitalism not only generated poverty and extreme suffering but also concentrated wealth in a few instead of distributing it equally among people. Thus, to the socialists, in more ways than one rather than capitalism improving the living conditions of the masses in society, capitalism brought misery instead. Accordingly, rather than developing the third world countries which were poor to a great extent, capitalism contributed immensely to their underdevelopment (1991).

One important thing to note about socialism was the fact that instead of proposing that the third world countries drop their development ideas, since they did not seem to be effectively working anyway, socialist proposed the adoption of alternative form of development. This was to be known as socialist development. It seemed as a workable idea for the simple fact that it is the route that the USSR had taken to achieve industrialization. Before the 1920, the USSR was predominantly an agrarian society.

The fact that the USSR had taken the socialist path and succeeded in its endeavor to industrialize was a boost for socialism as it convinced many of the dominance of socialist development over capitalist and most importantly of socialism over capitalism (Sachs, 1991). This was especially true in and for the third world countries where to a great extent, anti colonialism sentiments also included anti capitalism. More over, many of the third world intellectuals who were also involved in independence movements were highly impressed by the efforts of the Soviet Union to foster socialist development.

As a result, these intellectuals began to think about adopting the same measure as the Soviet Union and adapting them into their own special circumstances (Sachs, 1991). The intellectuals in third world countries were of two main types. On the one hand were the revolutionaries. On the other hand were those who did not want violence and therefore advocated for peaceful change. The Soviet experience had a profound influence on them. Consider this. In Asia, Mao Zedong of China was drawn into Marxism and also the struggle for socialism by the soviet example.

He was not the only one. Jawaharlal Nehru of India was another intellectual, who was also ‘bitten by the socialism bug’. After a trip to Brussels, for a Congress on Oppressed Nationalities, and also to Moscow, he was to later proclaim that his goal was socialism. The important thing about Jawaharlal Nehru is that upon his return to India, he clearly articulated a view of the relationship that existed between development, that third world countries were very much in need of, and socialism. I see no way of ending poverty, the vast unemployment, the degradation and the subjection of the Indian people except through socialism” (Jawaharlal Nehru). The statement was later to be adopted by leaders in other third world countries and shared by many generations after them (Sachs, 1991). This happened in such African countries as Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania by such leaders as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela. However, this is not to say that Latin American countries were left behind, no.

According to Sachs, other third world leaders who turned to socialism but of a different king were such leaders as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara of Cuba, Camilo Torres of Colombia, Pol Pot of Cambaodia and Salvador Allende of Chile (1991). The adoption of the soviet style socialism by such countries as China and Cuba especially after their revolutions and its evident success in eliminating the some of the obvious evils that were associated with capitalist development such as starvation, inequality, poverty and illiteracy, reinforced the case for socialist forms of development (Sachs, 1991).

In the decades following decades following the end of the second world war, contest between capitalist and socialist development ensued in third world countries. To some extent, this contest paralleled that between capitalism in the countries that were considered as the first world and socialism that existed in countries regarded as the second world. Accordingly, while the Americans and other ex colonial powers pushed their development strategies under foreign aid programs, it is important to note that the countries that were in support of socialism took a different path (Sachs, 1991).

The Soviets, Chinese and to some extent the Cubans extended their socialist development models primarily by supporting the various revolutionary movements that had come up in the third world countries in such regions as Africa, and also through the giving of foreign aid. Therefore, in the same way that the capitalist countries wanted to win newly independent third world countries into the capitalist camp, the socialist also took it upon themselves to finance not only trade but also infrastructural development in these third world countries.

Thus, money was provided for such activities as the building of roads, dams, schools and also for agricultural research (Sachs, 1991). The financing of agricultural research can be considered to have been highly beneficial for the simple fact that most of the third world countries more so those in Africa heavily rely on agriculture for the production of food that is consumed locally and exported so as to earn foreign exchange. According to Sachs, in addition, hundreds if not thousand of students from these third world countries were awarded scholarships to study in the socialist countries.

As a result most of the individuals who were later to become leaders, for instance in Africa, had their formal education in such countries as the soviet union. It does not take a rocket scientist to discern that these individuals would bring back socialism dogmas with them when their returned to their home countries. And since they had witnessed first hand just how well they had worked, they would also try to adapt and implement them in their home countries.

It would therefore not be an exaggeration of facts to state that by financing the revolutionary movements in the third world countries, countries that espoused socialism such as the soviet union had the aim of overthrowing local institutions of capitalist power (1991). The Cold War Era The Cold War era may be described as period in history that was characterized by tensions, Thus, rather than a direct war that involves the use of weapons, cold war is more of an ideological war thus indirect war.

The Cold War pit the united states on one side and the Soviet Union, USSR on the other. In order to win the war, both countries had to persuade as many countries as possible to move over to their camp. The US was keen on having its capitalism ideology adopted by as many countries as possible. Concurrently, the USSR, was keen on having as many countries as possible as possible adopt the socialism ideology. To achieve these ends, the USSR and the US would use such things as foreign aid, scholarships (Globalsecurity. org, 2009).

Therefore it was in the Cold War era, after the world wars, that socialism became widespread in the third world as a result of soviet aid and also propaganda. At this point in time most of the third world countries had just freed themselves from European colonialism. Consequently, most of them lacked total or effective democratic leadership. To a great extent, emerging nations in Africa, Asia and even Latin America frequently adopted socialist economic programs. It was through socialism that the countries were able to nationalize industries that were hitherto under foreign ownership and management.

It is important to also note that the Soviet Union, being one of the two super powers around at the time was keen on luring newly independent states onto its camp. Consequently, the fact that the Soviet Union offered aid was reason enough for the leaders in the third world countries to adopt socialism. For those countries concerned with the vast economic disparities between the rich and poor, communist/socialist propaganda was sure to convince that socialism was the best ideology for them.

From this, countries such as China, India and Egypt developed their state planning by borrowing heavily from the soviet model (Globalsecurity. org, 2009). The popularity of Socialism It is worth noting that the growth and popularity of socialism was greater in third world countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa where nationalistic and socialistic regimes had already been established. In the 60’s and 70’s most of the countries in these regions the popularity was filled by their anti colonialism sentiments and also the burning desire to industrialize.

In most instances, it was the hatred that the third world countries had for colonialism that they also associated with western capitalism, that bred in the countries the view that western investment was only a ploy by the former colonialists to undermine their newly achieved independent status. Accordingly, socialism was viewed as the only existing alternative that would help the third world countries achieve development without having to rely on western aid and also ensure the equal distribution of the available resources (Principle aspects of socialism in Latin America, 1958).

Another factor that led to the popularity of socialism in third world countries had to do with the activities of the indigenous communist parties that had already been established in these countries, also the activities of the various international communist front organizations, plus the foreign and economic policies on one of the major super powers of the time; the USSR/the Soviet Bloc (Principle aspects of socialism in Latin America, 1958).

Through such activities as giving much needed aid crucial for development to the third world countries, the USSR, sought to fuel the strong negative sentiments that these countries had for the capitalist nations. Accordingly, through communist propaganda in the media, the USSR was able to turn the third world countries from the capitalist. All it had to do was to equate capitalism to colonialism and imperialism. This the Soviet Union did.

More over, they also added more propaganda/false information that the United States was just an imperialist power that was practicing what could be considered a new style of colonialism through economic intimidation (Principle aspects of socialism in Latin America, 1958). That served as reason enough to propel the third world countries towards socialism. Colonialism to them meant inequality and exploitation. If capitalism was then the same thing as colonialism, there was no way the third world countries were going to embrace it.

After all, doesn’t the old adage that go, once beaten twice shy? The third world countries were also encouraged, by the same media that spread propaganda to take socialist measures, for instance establish socialist parties, and also accept Soviet loans that would come, in the Soviet lingo, ‘no strings attached’ 9Principle aspects of socialism in Latin America, 1958). Of course, it was not a ‘no strings’ attached kind of affair rather by all standards a carrot and stick kind of situation, that was to serve as persuasion measure.

The Soviets would dangle the carrot (aid) to the third world countries, while at the same time waving the stick (withdrawal of the aid), to countries that were not in support of the socialism ideology. To a great extent, this proved successful. The third world countries then chose to accept the carrot (aid) since they needed it for developmental purposes. The indigenous communist parties also had a role to play in pushing the third world countries towards socialism. The parties, on the basis of the common goals of socialism and independence formed alliances with the socialists that also included the local elite and bourgeoisie.

They placed their emphasis on freeing themselves and the people from existing domestic regimes that they considered to have been established and supported by colonialism and imperialism (Principle aspects of socialism in Latin America, 1958). It is especially important to critically analyze the African version of socialism. To a great extent, the African version is regarded as different from the classical version. This is because it advocates for the sharing of a country’s economic resources in what can be regarded as both traditional and African (William & Carl, 1964).

That is, everyone gets something whether or not they put enough effort into the acquisitions on the resources of if they are in need. African socialism is said to have developed as a result of help from the Soviet and the Chinese leaders. After the Sino – Soviet split, most African countries either became pro Moscow or pro Beijing. Since China and the Soviet Union both practiced socialism and since most African countries had aligned themselves towards the two, it was only a matter of time before the African countries also adopted socialism (William & Carl, 1964).

In the first half f the 20th century, the majority of African countries were under the yoke of colonialism. They had been colonized by such European countries as British, France, Belgium, Germany, to mention but a few. However, this state of affairs was to change in the 1950’s when the African countries started the fight for their independence. The consequence of this was that most of theses African countries were able to achieve their independence in the 1960’s. With independence, these African countries adopted socialism (William & Carl, 1964).

However, one may ask the question, why was socialism popular in Africa in the 1960’s and further on in the 1970’s? According to William & Carl, African countries had been colonized by the European countries for a very long time. The colonialists practiced capitalist which meant most of the means of production was owned by the colonialist. More over, there was inequality in the society which resulted in social classes; the colonialist and African elite on one side and the poor Africans on the other. Consequently, the African countries were not so keen on capitalism.

After all, it only served to divide the African society. It is for this reason that they were willing to drop capitalism in favor of socialism. Socialism allowed for the communal ownership of the means and factors of production. More over, it encouraged equality (1964). So, this was the best ideology for them. This was one major reason why socialism was popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s in the third world countries of Africa. The newly independent states of Africa were keen on doing a way with anything that could be associated with the European colonialist. Capitalism was one of these things.

The assumption was that there was no way African leaders and regimes could claim independence from their colonialists if they retained the same oppressive systems that the colonialists had used on them. Since independence was starting on a clean new, it also meant the adoption of new ideologies that were in no way linked to capitalism. The adoption of socialism was to be taken as the much needed break from the imperialistic ruling traditions of the European colonialists (William & Carl, 1964). To a majority of the African leaders and people, by all standards socialism was everything that capitalism was not.

Through socialism, African populations could share their resources and there would be equality. With such prospects, how could the third world countries have accepted to retain capitalism? This was another reason major reason that socialism was popular in the 60’s and 70’s. According to William & Carl, another reason why socialism was popular in the 60’s and 70’s in the third world African countries has to do with the fact that it was good for unity purposes. The last thing that the newly independent countries of Africa needed was disintegration and disunity arising from inequality.

The 1960’s and 1970’s was very crucial to the African countries. This was a period when they had to get involved in the task of nation building. It was a time the people together towards the development of their countries. Roads had to be build, schools established, children educated and their economies sustained. However, all these activities would have been impossible to accomplish if unity lacked. To a great extent the capitalist ideology was seen as creating disunity through the perpetuation of social classes (1964).

It does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that it is hard for people who come from very distinct social classes to work effectively together towards some common goal. It is for this reason that they opted for socialism. It may be argued that when certain African countries looked at the progress of their neighbor, especially those that had chosen to adopt socialism, they decided to follow suit. After all, their progress was testament that socialism worked better than capitalism. For instance, Kenya may have been influenced to adopt socialism by her neighbor Tanzania.

Tanzania got her independence much earlier and also adopted socialism earlier (William & Carl, 1964). Thus, it was the withdrawal of the colonialists that popularized socialism and also gave rise to what was later to be referred to as African socialism, in the African countries in the 1960’s and 70’s. The important thing to note about African socialism is the fact that indigenous African traditions for instance, the practice of communal land ownership and the Marxist – Leninist model of one party rule with the goal of modernization.

Case in point. In Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, who is also known as Tanzania’s founding father, developed the concept of Ujamaa. In ujamaa, Nyerere hoped to achieve economic self sufficiency by collectivizing village farm lands under one party rule. However, the plan was largely unsuccessful (William & Carl, 1964). Still, this particular ploy of converting tracts of farmland into communals was not uniquely African. The same was tried out in South America, specifically in Chile. he Chilean government under the support of both socialist and communist parties in the country, confiscated most of the uncultivated land and also established peasant cooperatives to work in them. Thus, the government did not offer any form of compensation to the peasants from whom it took land from. The argument was that the land was meant for the greater good; to help others in society (O, Connor, 2004). Thus, African socialism can be regarded to have been different from Asian and Latin American socialism. In Asia as compared to Africa, no distinct form of socialism emerged.

It is worth noting however that in most cases it was communist regimes that emerged. It was only in Japan where a socialist party was able to gain massive following to a point that it was able to control the party and sometimes even participate in the governing coalition. Again just like in Asia, there was no peculiar form of socialism in Latin America. Nevertheless, the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba followed the Marxist Leninist from of socialism for the better part of the 1950’s and 60’s. This form of socialism was characterized by one party that controlled virtually all aspects of life in the society.

It is important to note that as much as socialism was popular in the 60’s and 70’s in the third world countries, it nonetheless faced very stiff potholes. Probably this is the reason that it was not successful in the long run. According to O’Connor, economically, the countries lacked the necessary infrastructure to achieve their ends. More over, they lacked the tradition of the rule of law and representative government which resulted in political instability . Others yet experienced internal wrangles (2004).

Conclusion.Socialism is defined as a theory of social reorganization whose aim is the rebuilding of society such that the distribution of labor and property is both fair and equitable. Thus, the end goal of socialism is to unite humanity and also to solve societal problems by building a society that is able to satisfy the common need for cooperation and materials security. Third world countries are defined as the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and also Oceania. These countries are characterized by rampant poverty, high populations and even political instability.

In the years are after the second world war but during the cold war era, socialism became popular and influential in the third world countries of Asia, Latina America and Africa. One major reason that socialism was so popular especially between the 60’s and 70’s had to do with the fact that it was seen as a much better alternative to capitalism. Most of the third world countries associated capitalism not only with colonialism but also with poverty and inequality. Since in the 60’s and 70’s most of the countries in the third world were newly independent, they dropped capitalism in favor of socialism.

The argument behind this was that there was no way they could regard themselves as independent if they retained the exploitative systems of their former colonial master. To a great extent, socialism was popular in the third world countries since it was viewed as the only way that they develop and do away with the problems, such as poverty and inequality that capitalism that left behind. The fact that the Soviet Union had successfully industrialized by adopting socialism as reason enough for the third world to want to follow suit.

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