Eastern Europe in the Sixties

By Stephen Fischer-Galati | Go to book overview
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4. INDUSTRY AND LABOR

STANLEY J. ZYZNIEWSKI

Intensive industrialization radically altering the economies of Eastern Europe has been an outstanding ramification of Soviet ascendancy. The drive toward industrial maturity continues. Current economic plans, most of which are scheduled for completion in 1965, will mark two decades of Soviet tutelage. Simultaneously they reflect a new stage in the region's economic development. The earlier patterns of industrialization were notoriously painful and erratic, but, as the decade of 1960 unfolded, greater vigor and calculation for more efficient growth has been evident among bloc members. Revisions of past premises, changes in tempo and method, and more complex relationships have modified characteristics of East European industrialization. The recent adjustments and innovations form a suitable bench mark by which to measure past trends, present conditions, and more immediate portents.

Initially, wartime destruction and the expansion of Soviet power imposed Herculean strains upon the region, although some countries fared worse than others. Concomitants of Soviet expansion included a drain of assets and the rapid structural reorganization of each economy. The large flow of unrequited exports to the Soviet Union in the early years stemmed from a variety of now-

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Any generalized treatment of East European industrialization is obviously subject to various limitations: diverse conditions and singular exceptions, gaps in data and standardization, upward biases of official computations. Nonetheless, mutually shared pressures and problems, as well as common achievements and shortcomings, permit a useful degree of regional characterziation which at least conveys orders of magnitude and salient trends. Paucity of information and the relative insignificance of Albanian developments prompt only infrequent references. One summary of that state's development is available in Economic Survey of Europe, 1960, chap. ii. Yugoslavia's successful defection from lock-step patterns of the bloc prompts a separate addendum.

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