The Soviet Union under Stalin achieved the world's fastest industrialization up to that point in history and became a super-power. Although it could not overwhelm all the world's capitalist countries by itself or even with the help of a mighty China under Mao, it grew faster economically until Hitler bailed out the capitalist system by attacking the Soviet Union in World War II.
Capitalism "won" through the war of many states against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union beat the Nazis, but the Soviet Union was bled dry of one-tenth of its people (their best people in their prime) and one-third of all Soviet wealth. The system being called a "success" had to have two world wars this century in Europe.
Shortly after World War II which bled the Soviet Union that otherwise would have been far ahead of any other country, the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union went soft and implemented capitalism. The more the party deviated from the road of Lenin and Stalin, the more economic growth slowed down and the movement internationally suffered. The final "failure" of the Soviet Union was caused by the capture of its leadership by capitalist-roaders after 1956 and pointed out by Mao and Hoxha soon thereafter. The imperialist media talk about "failure," but we Maoists long ago saw failure in the Soviet Union--of the capitalist sort.
We do not defend the economic system in the Soviet Union after 1956. However, a small handful of rich countries get disproportionate weight in the discussion of communism as a failure. These rich countries were already much richer than Russia before it turned to communism in 1917. In other words, the supposed race between socialism and capitalism did not start at the same starting line.
Judging communism in a race where it started behind and which has only existed in state power since 1917, we are amazed by its successes in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and caring for the sick and elderly. In the long run, if we do not suffer a species-ending catastrophe of world war or environmental pollution, communism will prevail eventually just as capitalism eventually prevailed over the slave economic system and other economic systems before it.
For more discussion of the real causes of economic development using a science and not judging races where several runners start the race ahead of another runner and beat up on that runner in the midst of the race--see MT #4 .
MIT Business School Dean on capitalist failures in the Third World
Success in China
Infant and child mortality in China according to the World Bank
Testimonials on Soviet success before it became profit-run: Sputnik
Testimonials on Soviet success before it became profit-run: Computers
Mortality rates in the USSR 1913-1956
Life expectancy for men in socialist Soviet Union in 1955: 63, capitalist Russia, 1998: 56
The World Bank on Taiwan and southern Korea
Pro-capitalist economists explain land reform
Then why is everyone trying to get to the United $tates?
Isn't it "human nature" for communism to fail?
The bombing of Hiroshima by the United $tates is an example of capitalist "success."