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To understand the differences between Socialism in the Soviet Union and in the third world we first have to explain what Socialism in the Soviet and the third world context really mean The phrase the the third world is generally taken to include the Americas south of the United States the whole of Africa Asia apart from the Soviet Union China and Japan and the oceanic islands apart from Australia and New Zealand1 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels theorised in general terms about the transition between Capitalism and Communism They reasoned that between Capitalist and Communist society there would be the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other They also contended that the social order during this period would be a communist society not as it had developed on its own foundations but on the contrary as it has emerged from capitalist society They referred to this transitional social order between capitalism and communism as the inf erior stage of communism and frequently as Socialism Alec Nove in his book Political Economy and Soviet Socialism comments that there is Basic unclarity about the meaning both of socialism and of the transition period Alan Abouchar says Two people rarely mean the same thing when they refer to communism and socialismIn a news story in the mid-1970s a major international newspaper reported that the Allende government in Chile was a socialist and not a communist government2 He goes on further to say that The reactions of one used to thinking of these terms within the context of the Soviet Union would be That is hardly a comfort the USSR is also a socialist rather than a communist government 3 In the last three to four decades many Marxists have concluded that there cannot be a general theory of the transition to socialism that is a theory applying to all societies that undertake a socialist course of development For example Marta Harnecker
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