Communism in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1960

By Edward Taborsky | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
THE HUMAN COST

IN THE PRECEDING two chapters an attempt has been made to evaluate Czechoslovak industrial and agricultural developments under the dictatorship of the proletariat strictly in terms of economic achievement. The present chapter will consider them in terms of their contribution, or lack of it, to the over-all well-being of the Czechoslovak man-in-the-street.

The consideration of communism's economic attainments within such a frame of reference is crucial for their correct over-all evaluation. With all its emphasis on economic determinism the teaching of Marx and Lenin regards economic arrangements only as a means to an end. The elimination of private ownership of the means of production, the all-embracing economic planning, the reckless industrialization drive, and the lopsided emphasis on capital goods production--all this is allegedly done for the sake of abolishing the exploitation of man by man, promoting a more equitable distribution of goods and services, and providing for higher levels of social welfare than those obtainable under a capitalist system. It is supposed to generate an overabundance of material values that is considered to be one of the chief prerequisites for the establishment of the communist millenium when man's needs rather than his work should serve as the criterion of his reward. By releasing wage-earners from dependence on the "profit-greedy capitalist bread-givers" the communist economic system claims not only to improve man's material well-being but to substitute "genuine" freedom that only communism can offer for the meaningless "formal" freedom provided under the capitalist rule. "Only socialism is destined to create for the first time in history dignified humane conditions for all and provide freedom for all; and this is possible solely because of the unprecedented development of production and only to the extent in which such a development will continue."1

How does the balance sheet of Czechoslovak economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat look in these respects?

____________________
1
Práce, July 31, 1958.

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