Honestly the societies you listed had problems that communism was not the cause of
USSR - was in a arms race with the US, that it was never going to win, it pushed so much of it's countries production into making nukes that while it had thousands of more nuclear warheads than the USA at it's peak, it could do nothing else economically.
Those other counties listed - NK, Cuba, China ... the only reason they are behind is because they were locked out economic markets for being communist. Look at a map of the Marshal Plan participants ( European Recovery Program ), these are the most advanced technologically and stable economies in the world next to the US.
China never promised it's people an easy life, China's government promises it's people safety from invaders and internal stability. We have a hard time understanding this as a primary driving mandate in the US because we have a very different value system. We are culturally very different, if the Chinese did not like they're government then if they chose to rise to the occasion there are too many of them ( x billion ) to not topple any government on Earth, just saying ;-)
If you are stating that economic ability is - them getting close to the US - then China passed us a few years ago, and as there next half billion people move into the middle class they will be the only economic powerhouse on the planet... we in the US do not have the number of people to compete, our population is too small and this generation of rule makers do not like immigrants ( every generation has had a problem with this to be fair -- lookup Irish discrimination, Catholic discrimination, Italian discrimination - if your different and moved to the US recently the established blamed everything on you )
"In fact, their political policies reinforced* inequity," == as do ours in the US, where the middle class has been shrunk by half in the last 30 years due to changes in tax policy. Granted I like paying less in taxes, but I realize that as the more affluent pay less as well they get to buy more items for speculation purposes that raises the cost of items higher, like houses, cars, clothing, food, and travel, hotels, rentals and everything else. Their money flooding back into the economy has had good things happen to, like reinvestment, venture capitalism funding large gains in tech.
At the end of the day, if we create a society in which 90% of work is done and can be done by machines or the people that program and maintain machines, how do we evolve our way of thinking about our, humans, place in society. If we can only envision usefulness in terms of economics we are doomed to displacing billions into poverty. And if everyone is poor not because they are unable, but because it make no economic sense to employ them we need to rethink money and the role it plays. People are starting to have this conversation more and more as the US the second biggest economy the former king of the middle class looses it middle class to poverty.