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Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Whether a cat is black or white makes no difference as long as it catches mice’ themes of reforms constitute a vision towards the end of ideology and predominance of free market forces even in the erstwhile staunch ‘socialist’ countries like Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China. …
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Download file to see previous pages Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Whether a cat is black or white makes no difference as long as it catches mice’ themes of reforms constitute a vision towards the end of ideology and predominance of free market forces even in the erstwhile staunch ‘socialist’ countries like Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China. Deng started this process of massive reforms in 1978 while Gorbachev could begin only in 1986. Moving beyond Mao’s Cultural Revolution was the main concern of reforms brought about by Den Xiaoping. Gorbachev, however, introduced his concept of restructuring the economy of the Soviet Union in the name of Perestroika. His policy of Glasnost or openness was also an integral part of his restructuring as well. The essence of these reforming exercises was largely the movement towards economic liberalization and plausible democratic transparency – to the extent as it augured well with the need for necessary change (Kessler, 1988, 651). Indeed, what Deng could foresee in 1978, Gorbachev and erstwhile Soviet political stalwarts took yet another eight years to conceive! China’s journey to realizing need for globalization began with Deng’s very first visit to United States for meeting President Carter. When USSR started with restructuring economy and polity, China was already way ahead in this process. Does it mean that Deng was better entrenched in the corridors of power in China than Gorbachev in Soviet Union? There can be quite few reasons behind this apparent ‘back bencher’ attitude of the Soviet Union....
However, in order to critically analyze and compare both Perestroika and Deng's reforms it is required to know the major aspects of both these perspectives. First, main aspects of Perestroika may be pointed out:
1. Economic reconstruction through introducing 'socialistic free market' institutions and practices.
2. Agricultural reforms for giving, among others, more freedom to farmers for deciding on their own about their crop and other choices.
3. Other reforms in the area of international and intra-national trade and industry.
4. Educational reforms with more freedom to parents and children in their own decision making.
5. Initially minimal level of political reforms to provide more freedom of expression to Soviet citizens (Gorbachev, 1987 and Kishlansky, 2001).
The Gorbachev leadership, however, regarded its reforms in the USSR as a development of socialism, a "modernization," as it were, of socialism to bring it up to date in the modern epoch. The policy of perestroika has . The proposals of the reform movement have lead to contradictions within Soviet society concerning the nature and extent of the changes. There has undoubtedly been a significant recasting of the organizing principles of socialist society. Post-Communist states have moved away from the centralized plan to greater use of market forces, from collective solidarity to individualism, and from a primacy on politics to a greater role for economics. The centralized forms of control are to be superseded by greater devolution and by a more "pluralistic" political system. Ideas of a classless society and a hegemonic Communist Party leading the working class to a world order of communism have been completely repudiated (Lane, 1992, 377).

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