What was the conflict of interests between capitalism and communism during the Cold War?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Capitalism and communism were very opposite systems. Each system clashed with the other over various issues that arose after World War II. The communists wanted to spread their economic system throughout Europe and Asia. We wanted to prevent that happening. The communists believed that the government should control most aspects of the economy. The capitalists believed there should be a free economy in which private individuals made most decisions. The government would have a limited role in a capitalist system. Supply and demand would play an important role in a capitalist economy.

When the Soviet Union tried to spread communism to Western Europe, we developed the European Recovery Program to help countries trying to prevent a communist takeover. For example, we gave aid to Greece and Turkey to help them remain noncommunist. We went to the United Nations to help South Korea fight the spread of communism there. The Berlin Airlift was used to keep West Berlin free from communist control.

The capitalists also believed in having free elections. The communists supported having limited political opportunities.  Many governments under communist control were pressured or were forced to have a communist government. The capitalist concept supported freedom of choice. The communist system didn’t support this concept.

There were very different and competing interests for the capitalists and for the communists.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conflict between these two ideologies came about because they had opposing views of how the world should be organized and because they each felt the other was bent on dominating the world.

Capitalism and communism are based on diametrically opposed views of the world.  Capitalism depends on personal freedom while communism depends on centralized government control.  Communism argues that capitalism is inherently exploitative while capitalism believes communism denies people their human rights.

During the Cold War, each ideology felt the other was trying to dominate the world.  Therefore, each ideology felt that its very existence was threatened.  This was the cause of the conflict between the two.