Economic, Political, and Legal Reforms After 1989

I think you need to break down the chart…,” by Chirol, tdaxp, 6 May 2005,

Chirol made some helpful points on my first and second post-Fall of Communism charts, including

I think you need to break the chart down into the three phases Barnett lists for integration:

Political Change
Economic Change
Legal Change

And as he notes, they can come in different orders all based on which is best for the country at the time

Using my old categories of democracy, authoritarian growth, and stagnation a la North Korea, here we go again:


The diagram identifies the three main types of reforms — economic, political, and legal — as well as the three type of “end states” — communist stagnation, authoritarian growth, and liberal democracy. As before, the timeline begins in 1989 with the fall of world Communism

To start off, a state first decides whether to abandon Communist economics. Every nation but Cuba and North Korea abandon economic Communism. Both Cuba and the DPRK enter communist stagnation, and attempt to find other ways to aquire capital

For a post-Communist economy, the next decision is whether to reform politically. Russia, Serbia, and Poland both chose yes to this, and soon had open elections. Vietnam and Laos declines, keeping the one-party “Communist” state, while China violently demured. States that kept the one-party dictatorship entered the authoritarian growth stage, which continues to this day.

The last stage is whether to have substantive legal reform — the question of if a rule a law is established. Poland and Czechia chose yes, Russia and Serbia chose no. States that don’t quickly face organized attempts to remove the government. These can be convention armed warfare, seperatist movements, Islamic insurgencies, etc. If there is a war, the only known resolution is that the post-Communist regime must lose, and reenter the political reform stage (possibly under international occupation). Without an armed resistance, liberal networks will form which will overthrow the government in a “color revolution.”

I think the most controversial aspect of this chart would be it does not allow for legal reforms to come before political reforms. While some might argue that Chinese legal progress amounts to “importing rule-sets they could now create internally,” this is questionable. The important aspect of legal reform isn’t just better commercial laws — it is the rule of law. China has established a successful regime based on corruption and bribery horizontal control through side payments.

My chart is historical, not speculative. Every path has been completed by at least one state, while states not yet at an end-state can be seen to be on the path. Personally, I believe China will become a liberal democracy. But it’s closest analogue — Wilhelmine Germany — aborted its growth to launch a World War. Hopefully we will be more lucky this time.

The chart is available in Adobe Acrobat, JPEG, and 1.9 beta formats.

2 thoughts on “Economic, Political, and Legal Reforms After 1989”

  1. As you must know, your chart represents the rule-sets of a society. However you have left one, that I am aware of, important basses for integration out of your chart (don’t tell Tom he may have to edit his book). That basses for integration is the rule-set behind their implicit laws. What makes the implicit laws of a society so important is:
    1. They affect the horizontal component of society exponentially
    2. They can’t be changed.
    I have tried to find out what the implicit laws of China are. The nearest I have come to for an answer is: they want everyone to become Chinese. The rule-set, I believe, is actually a benevolent leader, but it is hard to have a benevolent leader unless everyone is the same as the leader. If you look at North Korea as China’s Taliban you can understand what I am getting at. You can’t have a more benevolent leader than one that wants to unite a country. The empty cities of North Korea are waiting for Koreans to fill them, not North Koreans. Whither North Korea works out as well for China as Afghanistan did for Pakistan still remains to be seen. As powerful as China is, I can’t imagine the outcomes as being the same.
    Your war or insurgency integration category may contain the implicit laws for integration. As we see in Iraq, the releasing (easing up) of communal laws brings anarchy, Mark Safranski, Rule-Set Re-set 1, which might get us to a yes or no to war. A communal society runs on implicit laws, so the implicit laws for integration would possibly be the same.

  2. Flat steep, that is cool. Lets see… steep must mean the hypotenuse of the triangle formed from the horizontal and vertical components of the society. Vertical squared x Horizontal squared = steep squared. I can see the horizontal being squared but the vertical doesn’t seem to be squared at all. It has a one to one ratio. What this means is that they don’t really form a triangle after all.

    This would be another clue that the horizontal and vertical components form a particle-wave, which is rounded; instead of a triangle like the datum lines would indicate. Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t know what implicit meant. Although I am new to your blog, I am impressed with what I have read so far. However, there are some things I find amazing. George Orwell would turn over in his grave to have you think he was talking about communism. As Mark Safranski chart shows in Rule-set Re-set 1, both a totalitarian and an individualistic society is governed by explicit rules. The only difference is that when the rules are strongly enforced you have totalitarian and when they are relaxed you have individualism. I am sure that is what Orwell was getting at in his book 1984. He is showing us how a totalitarian government would work in our society.

    From reading your link, I understand your meaning of implicit and explicit laws. I prefer to take the literal meaning. Explicit means written laws and implicit means unwritten laws. You have to compromise to change explicit laws. Implicit laws are those laws inside the heads of men and women You have to, like it is taught in Saudi Arabia, cut the heads off or some other drastic measure (Falluga) to change implicit laws.

    I think the positive aspect is that the person with implicit laws can change if the conditions are right. What those conditions are I haven’t a clue. I suppose that is one of the things I am trying to figure out by reading blogs like yours. Keep up the good work!

  3. Dan, this final model is consistent an well done.

    Larry, there are two levels in Orwell's work:
    – one of them is the scientific level (I mean political science) and from that point of view you are substantially right that he wants to show how a totalitarian government works
    – the other is the purely political level and then you have the powerful critic against the totalitarian system historically existent.
    Personally I'm convinced that the second one was his main objective (think about Animal Farm as well; think about his biography) but in any case both levels are present.
    This is, in my opinion, what makes Orwell greater than Huxley: his political and historical perspective, his tangible roots, his description of a reality you can easily recognize.



  4. Larry,

    Thanks for the tip to look again at Safranski in RSR. My thoughts on it are

    I didn't mean to imply that a steep control is angled between horizontal and vertical, but you sure made me think!

    What would a control between horizontal and vertical be?

    The original meaning of implicit was “entangled,” though it's now taken to mean “implied” or “unsaid.” As I mentioned in my post on Safranski, I don't think it's fair to say that explicit need to be written.

    Implicit laws change over time, often more smoothly than explicit ones do. Gradually “opening up” a nation can have much greater horizontal effects than a Fallujah.

    Thanks for the post!


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