Volume 11 • Number 4 • Winter 2020

All articles below are read and used under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY License) (see which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited.


Market Socialism in Belarus: An Alternative to China’s Socialist Market Economy

Yan Li and Enfu Cheng

Abstract: Since Lukashenko came to power, Belarus has embarked on the road of market socialism, in which privatization has been halted, and the dominant position of state-owned economic components in the national economy has been established; a vertically managed and efficient model of state governance has been implemented, the presidential leadership has been strengthened, and social fairness and justice have been prioritized. In addition, Belarus has kept good diplomatic relations with the CIS (Commonwealth of Independence States) countries, China, and other countries through pluralistic and multi-directional diplomacy. Market socialism has helped the economy of Belarus recover from the decline immediately following the breakup of the USSR and develop rapidly. The country’s economic foundation has been getting increasingly stable. A strong social security system has been established, and social welfare covers the largest social groups, which ensures employment and civil rights to the greatest extent, continuously improves the living standards of the population, and thus avoids social division and ensures social stability. Market socialism in Belarus is a special system of socialist market economy, its theory and practice can teach important lessons to the current practice of socialism and the reform of capitalist system

Keywords: Belarus; market socialism; Lukashenko; socialist market economic system


Game of Thrones, Game of Class Struggle, or Other Games? Revisiting the Dobb-Sweezy Debate

Thomas E. Lambert

Abstract: In 1946, the economist Maurice Dobb published a book that attempted to explain how feudalism gave way to capitalism. Dobb’s book began a debate among economists and historians that has continued until this day. Dobb thought that feudalism went into decline and was replaced by capitalism because of endogenous causes rooted in the class struggles between serfs and noblemen. An early and prominent critic, Paul M. Sweezy, thought that the factors which led to the decline of feudalism and rise of capitalism were exogenous, and these factors included the development and growth of international trade, production for markets and money, the growth and importance of cities, and the need for European monarchies to unite their kingdoms and to finance their wars and overseas empires. This paper does some preliminary empirical testing of these hypotheses using data from Britain from the 1200s to the 1800s. The findings of this paper are informative in trying to better understand the debate and provide some food for thought on how capitalism may change in the future.

Keywords: capitalism; feudalism; Dobb–Sweezy debate


Capital Accumulation in the Center and Semiperipheries: A Comparative Analysis of the US, Spain, and Brazil

Juan Pablo Mateo

Abstract: This paper presents a comparative analysis of capital accumulation in the US, Spain, and Brazil from 1990 to 2014, in order to analyze the peculiarities of the main contemporary economy (US), a developed one with a peripheral integration into the Eurozone (Spain), and a semiperipheral economy within a backward region (Brazil). This period is highlighted, especially for Spain and Brazil, by a neoliberal turn and certain monetary stability. Taking the US economy as a reference, Brazil achieved a higher average GDP and investment growth, but its capital-output ratio shows a relative high level. This economy also suffers from less capacity to produce a surplus in US dollars, and its productivity gap widens. In the case of Spain, its real-estate speculative boom has driven down both the profit rate and the productive efficiency of capital stock. Thus, while lacking an outstanding performance, the USA has kept its productive superiority in relation to Spain and Brazil.

Keywords: capital accumulation; productivity; profit rate; underdevelopment


Health System in Transition in India: Journey from State Provisioning to Privatization

Shailender Kumar Hooda

Abstract: This paper highlights how privatization in healthcare is being promoted and its further growth facilitated through the adoption of neoliberal policies in India. The approach to financing healthcare has been shifting from public provisioning to tax-funded health insurance merely to achieve health coverage. The idea of the strategic purchasing of care from private providers promoted through insurance seems likely to aggravate the crisis in access and healthcare delivery. Such a crisis will escalate costs and promote concentration and monopolies in the healthcare market. Under the recently promoted neoliberal policy, India is compromising the goal of comprehensive provision of public health services, which is essential for creating a healthier society.

Keywords: neoliberalism in health; health system transition; privatization; health insurance


The Changing Geopolitical Economy of Transcaucasia under Multipolarity

Efe Can Gürcan

Abstract: This article sheds light on the changing character of the Transcaucasian geopolitical economy based on the question of how the multipolarization of world politics has shaped the course of regional conflicts and the balance of forces in the region. In this framework, the article proposes transcending static labels such as Georgia/Azerbaijan as a “Western post,” Iran and Azerbaijan as “arch enemies,” and Armenia as a “traditional Russian ally” by reference to recent developments such as the peaceful rise of China in the region, Putin’s Eurasianist geostrategic leanings, and the reorientation of Turkey’s foreign policy since 2016. Georgian and Armenian color revolution dynamics are likely to be suppressed thanks to the recent foreign policy shift of Turkey as a strategic ally of Georgia, Georgia’s inclusion in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the Russo-Turkish rapprochement. Amidst deteriorating relations with the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the 2010s, moreover, Azerbaijan’s foreign policy gives increasingly greater weight to relations with Russia, which can be further deepened under the influence of Turkey’s foreign policy. A similar situation goes for Azerbaijan’s involvement in the Non-Aligned Movement and BRI, as well as Iranian acknowledgment of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity despite unresolved tensions in bilateral relations.

Keywords: foreign policy; geopolitical economy; hegemony; multipolarity; Transcaucasia


How China Succeeded in the Covid-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control

Interview with Associate Professor Leijie Wei, Editor of Waiting for Dawn:  21 Diaries From 16 COVID-19 Frontlines

Leijie Wei and Shuoying Chen

Abstract: The book Waiting for Dawn: 21 Diaries from 16 COVID-19 Frontlines takes a global perspective, examining the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on governments and the public around the world. Associate Professor Leijie Wei, editor of the book, believes that the reasons why mandatory tracking, testing, and quarantine measures have been effectively implemented in China center on the unified leadership provided by the Communist Party of China (CPC), the active response by state-owned enterprises and institutions, and the full trust of the majority of the public in the government’s anti-pandemic measures. In an effort to win elections, meanwhile, politicians in Europe and the United States are politicizing the pandemic and making China a scapegoat. In contrast to socialist China’s policy of ensuring all those in need are hospitalized with free testing and treatment, the essentially capitalist public health models applied in most Western countries have brought more concrete and explicit class conflict, and the drawn-out pandemic in the West has exacerbated various forms of social injustice. The COVID-19 epidemic is a reminder that a country’s governance ability should not be judged on the basis of simplistic conceptions of democracy, and that the needs of Mother Earth must be considered in the collective building of a community of shared future for humankind.

Keywords: COVID-19; epidemic; pandemic; socialist China


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