The Moral Collapse Of Communism: Poland As A Cautionary Tale

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The Moral Collapse Of Communism: Poland As A Cautionary Tale

By John Clark and Aaron Wildavsky
Institute for Contemporary Studies Press, 1990
429 pp. $24.95

This volume is two books in one. The early and concluding chapters discuss the basic elements of the totalitarian, command-economy regimes that have recently found their place in the dustbin of history, and show how, by an ironic twist, they fit the description of the crisis of capitalism advanced by Marx and the neo-Marxists of today. The stuffing in the sandwich-the intervening chapters-illustrates that general thesis but also stands on its own as a competent survey of Poland's politics, economy and society from World War II to 1989. The authors make much of the corruption and moral decay spawned by the Leninist-Stalinist system, and rightly so. Sharp comparisons on moral grounds, however, should be tempered by the fact that no society is without serious flaws, least of all those of the West, as Solzhenitsyn reminds us.

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