A closely related (perhaps even inseparable) question is whether, or to what extent, economic liberalization in China and the Soviet bloc will lead to democratization. Moreover, what impact will those nations’ internal political and economic reforms have on international politics, particularly relations between the East and the West?
For the East, the growth of “market Marxism” has potentially far‐reaching implications, not least because of the intimate relationship between politics and the economy. In adopting market‐oriented reforms, Communist party leaders are sailing into uncharted waters. How far can economic reforms go, they must ask, without creating popular demand for political rights? Allowing pockets of capitalism to develop and grow is bound to bring into being an entrepreneurial class whose interests are at odds with those of a privileged party elite determined to perpetuate its power monopoly.
The dilemma that Communist party leaders face can be expressed as a paradox: the more effective the economic reforms (measured by the commercial success of the new or renascent private sector), the shorter the likely life span of the Stalinist party‐state. In the course of a recent assessment based on an extraordinary interview with Mikhail Gorbachev,
Heidi and Alvin Toffler–authors of The Third Wave and Future Shock–noted: