Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation

Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation

Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation

Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation

Synopsis

Perestroika was acclaimed in the west but brought empty shelves in the east. Why Perestroika Failedargues that this was inevitable because it was not based on a sound understanding of market and political processes. Even if the perestroika programme had been carried out to the full it would have failed to bring about the structuralchanges necessary to transform what was the Soviet economy.

Excerpt

Much of my thinking on perestroika has been sharpened by the comments of seminar and conference participants and anonymous referees on several papers over the past few years. The material in the book, in one form or another, has been presented at seminars at New York University, Oakland University, George Mason University, St. Lawrence University, State University of New York at Purchase, Hunter College of the City University of New York, Trinity College, Franklin and Marshall College, Hillsdale College, the Austrian Economics Colloquium of Washington, DC, and the Cato Institute, Washington, DC, and the annual meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, American Economic Association, the Association for Comparative Economic Studies, the Eastern Economic Association and the Public Choice Society. In addition, I would like to thank the students in my graduate seminar on Soviet and East European economies at New York University (Fall 1990 and Fall 1991) for their comments and criticisms on the arguments presented in the book. I have published some of these earlier papers in professional journals and as chapters in books. The material for this book, however, was entirely re-written and re-thought, taking into account both criticisms raised on those earlier formulations of the argument and new information concerning the Soviet situation as it evolved.

In addition to their careful and critical comments, my colleagues in the Austrian Economics Program at New York University, Israel Kirzner and Mario Rizzo have provided encouragement throughout the project. I would also like to thank the graduate fellows in the Austrian program for their input at several stages of this project: Juan Cosentino, Sean Keenan, George Pavlov, Gilberto Salgado, Charles Steele and Steve Sullivan. Financial assistance from the Sarah Scaife

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