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Communism Economics Communism relies on a command economic system where all economic activities are controlled by the government. All economic activity was focused on heavy industry and militarism which led to a shortage of consumer goods. All land, factories, machinery, and natural resources are run by the state. Prices and amount produced are determined by the government. There are no individual corporations who compete for wealth in a communist system. The government runs all economic activity and privately owned businesses and land are seized/nationalized by the government. Since everyone essentially works for the government, wealth is equalized by paying these government employees roughly equal salaries. Collective farms distributed food equally after government quotas were met. In this way the communist claim that they created a truly equal society. Ethnic minorities While everyone was supposed to be equal under communism, in reality certain ethnic minorities can often be picked on in the communist system such as the way Stalin allowed Ukrainians to starve to death during the Holodomor. This oppression of ethnic minorities is often hidden in a communist state as communism is supposed to create an equal society for all. Totalitarian control and Imperialism The communist system that emerged under Joseph Stalin was a unique political and economic system. It was based on the ideas of Karl Marx but in many ways Marx would have been horrified by what Stalin did in the name of communism. For this reason, historians often separate the two systems and identify the beliefs of Karl Marx as “Marxism”, and the system created by Stalin as “Stalinism”. Stalin’s brand of communism was often copied by communist nations around the world and thus Stalin, more than Marx has come to define communism. Although Marx called for a “dictatorship of the proletariat (poor factory workers and farmers), Stalin created a dictatorship of the communist party leaders. Communism has come to mean a totalitarian system of government where individuals have no rights. Under Communism there is no freedom of speech, no fair trials, no protection from torture, no privacy (phones were tapped, mail read, conversations reported by secret police, and no religious freedom. Religion was basically destroyed under Stalin as the Russian Church had their land taken over, their bank accounts drained, and their churches demolished. Prison work camps (gulags) were used to house suspected political dissidents. Propaganda, censorship, and indoctrination were all used in schools and all aspects of public life to convince the people to be completely loyal to the state. Individuality is lost as people simply are regarded as part of the collective population. Individual thoughts, ideas and art/music are only accepted if they further the communist party’s power. Other political parties don’t exist as members of those parties are intimidated, arrested, tortured, and/or executed. Generally communist governments are militaristic and want to expand their influence and spread communism throughout the world. Under Stalin, the USSR expanded to take over Eastern Europe and dominated the region for nearly 50 years during the Cold War. Fascism Economics Under a Fascist government, the government strongly regulates businesses but often doesn’t take direct ownership of them. Instead, corporations can continue to function privately and accumulate wealth as long as they don’t do anything to offend the government. So in a sense Fascists allowed capitalism but it certainly wasn’t Laissez-faire. Most economic activity was designed to increase the military such as weapons production and road construction. However, because private industry still technically existed, consumer products were still produced under Fascism right up until WWII. There were clear rules for doing business in a Fascist state and failure to follow the rules could mean imprisonment, or worse, for entrepreneurs. Fascist governments often took businesses away from people they didn’t like and then allowed more loyal people to operate them. The surest way to ensure that your business would continue to survive in a Fascist state was to bribe high powered government officials to not harass you or your business and to produce things that the government wanted such as military equipment to fuel the militaristic imperialism that drove the Fascist economy. Many entrepreneurs attempted to formally join the Nazi or Fascist party to avoid any problems. Ethnic minorities Fascists did NOT preach equality as the communists did. In fact, Fascist leaders openly preached that their nationality was supreme and genetically superior to all others. In Italy and Germany, Jews were the most frequently targeted minority groups which led to their mass murder during WWII in the Holocaust. Ethnic minorities were often scapegoated (blamed for things they did not do) for the problems of the nation. In this way, the government could deflect any anger over economic problems onto an easy target and the government could avoid taking the blame for anything wrong in the country. While the Nazis openly oppressed Jews, they sought to keep the extent of that persecution during the Holocaust a secret. Picking on a group was one things, genocide was a far more serious matter. Totalitarian control and Imperialism Fascism emerged under the leadership of Benito Mussolini in Italy and was further developed by Adolf Hitler in Germany. Fascism glorifies the leader/government through the use of propaganda, censorship, and indoctrination. As fascism is totalitarian, opposing political parties are outlawed and destroyed. There is no freedom of speech for anyone who criticizes the government. The use of secret police, concentration camps for political enemies, torture, and execution were permanent features of the Fascist system. All art/music was channeled into approved themes that glorified the government and military. Religious groups are allowed as long as they don’t interfere with government policy. In fact the Nazis created a new branch of Christianity that denied that Jesus was Jewish. Political dissent is not allowed by anyone. Even the Pope in Italy didn’t oppose the Fascist government of Mussolini. In fact the Pope signed a treaty with Mussolini which established the Vatican as its own separate tiny country. Compared to the Italian Communist, the Fascist were better for the Pope because the Communists would destroy religion altogether. Fascism focused on nationalism, militarism, and Empire. The Fascist states of both Italy and Germany conquered their neighbors and helped to start WWII in Europe.