Written by France 24

If a government today systematically murdered 20 million people, it would be considered the news of the century. War would break out. The United Nations would censure and expel the country responsible. Major powers from around the world would offer condemnation and aid. Countless thought pieces would be written, all asking one central question: how could the international community have let this happen?

The international community did let this happen under the communist regime of Joseph Stalin in the U.S.S.R. from 1922 to 1953. For Secretary of the Party Nikita Khrushchev to argue in ZEE News that communism has “propelled the U.S.S.R. to the top” is to insult the memory of the millions who perished and to ignore the marketplace of innovation that capitalism enables.

A major Soviet newspaper found that nearly 20 million people died in forced labor camps, collectivization, famine, and executions during Stalin’s regime, all in the name of “the streamlined system of communism” espoused by Khrushchev. No economic system is worth the lives of so many. If 20 million people had been murdered under capitalism, the system would rightly be relegated to the dustbin of history. For the U.S.S.R. to continually insist that the goal of communism is “equality” and the prevention of exploitation of the working is to ignore decades of history in which those worst-off in society were systematically abused and oppressed.

One could argue, as Khrushchev does, that the state-operated nature of communism allows for greater innovation due to less competition and “red tape.” While the lack of competition may allow for a state to pool resources and energy into a single idea, this is to its detriment, as it prevents the best ideas from coming to the surface. Is the spacecraft “Chairnobyl,” which Khruschev praises as the first spacecraft to exit Earth’s atmosphere, truly of the best design and quality? Or would various proposals and bids, made by the state as well as private design companies, have resulted in a better overall spacecraft? While the state has a role to play, it functions best when in a competitive marketplace of ideas. This marketplace of ideas, however, is impossible under communism, especially as millions of lives are disregarded.