Economically, Communist regimes are far from monolithic. You had:
- State capitalist/”market socialist” countries like today’s China and Belarus, the NEPist USSR, tradionally Communist-ruled Kerala for that matter. Note that even Western countries, e.g. dirigiste France, have flirted with this.
- Central planning as practiced from the late 1920s in the USSR, in which markets are near totally repressed but workers and enterprises still have some incentives to improve productivity.
- The complete lunacy that is Maoist economics, with no markets or incentives. You had a statistically bigger chance of dying on your job than getting a transfer.
Likewise these systems differ quite cardinally in the sorts of economic outcomes/per capita output levels they can achieve relative to a free market theoretical maximum.
- Probably 80%+. Any differences/problems will only emerge once you start moving into the highest tiers.
- Likely no more than 50%, at least beyond the heavy industrialization stage of development. With some help from high oil prices, the USSR reached ~40% of US GDP per capita in the 1970s (or 50% of that of the advanced West European economies), then remained at basically that same relative level until it collapsed. North Korea maintained GDP per capita (PPP) parity with South Korea until the 1970s, then flatlined, and is today no more prosperous than it was 40 years ago. East Germany was at 50% of Western Germany. Hungary did untypically well, but then again, its “goulash communism” was closer to (1); this I suspect is the main reason its post-Communist performance has been fairly unimpressive compared to Poland or Czechia, it having less of a “gap” to close relative to what it “should have been” in the first place.
- Maybe 20%.
In regards to India’s underdevelopment:
The Licence Raj didn’t help – according to the above schema, India would have been somewhere between (1) and (2) – but that couldn’t have been the main source of India’s development problems. Note that the USSR, North Korea, to some extent even Maoist China, they all managed to achieve basic heavy industrialization under systems far more market suppressive than the License Raj. Surely the main thing holding India back would have been its low level of social, especially human capital (low literacy rates, ~low 80s average IQ), development. Human capital >> institutions so far as economic growth is concerned in almost all cases.
Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.