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What Caused the Clash Between Communism and Capitalism During the Cold War?
The cold war was essentially a clash between two different ideologies: Communism and Capitalism. In Capitalistic Economy the free market determines supply and demand, and prices are determined by what consumers are willing to pay. If a company or business sells their products too high, or too low they lose money and may go bankrupt. Whereas in a command economy the government artificially sets the prices and runs most industries and businesses. In the post WWII cold war era 1945-1990, most of the major Western countries were capitalist, while Russia and the rest of the Warsaw Pact was communist. The major ideological clashes between the two economic systems were religious (communists are atheist) and the political/economic system themselves.
Marxism-Leninism (the basis of communist ideals) was opposed to religion. Communist ideology was their new “religion.” During the revolution, the communist had burned down many religious buildings, churches, synagogues, and mosques. Religion as a whole was banned. The Christian church was regarded as one of the major enemies of communism. The communists believed that it was economic and material conditions that influenced mankind rather than an all-powerful God. In fact Karl Marx the founder of communism once famously called religion the opiate (a narcotic drug) of the proletariat (the common people). Capitalism on the other hand was open to freedom of religion, and generally supported it.
The Western countries distrusted Communism as a political system because of its lack of democracy and lack of representation. For example, most American thought if they worked hard they deserved to keep the fruits of their labor, whether on a family farm or as a tradesman in the city. In theory in Capitalism the harder and smarter you worked the greater your reward. On the other hand, the communist disliked the democratic political system because the they saw democracy as a camouflage for capitalism, and disregarded the politicians as corrupt puppets of industry exploiting the workers and robbing them of their labor for slave wages. They focused on the fact that not all workers receive equal pay. They failed to see that some workers were more productive and perhaps created better quality products that were more desirable.
In conclusion, the two main causes of disagreement between the two economies were the differing ideological/political/economic systems and their views on religion.
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