Study of the Soviet Economy

Study of the Soviet Economy

Study of the Soviet Economy

Study of the Soviet Economy

Excerpt

Nicolas Spulber

The Soviet challenge manifests itself on a widening front which stretches from politics to defense and from economics to science. What are the mainsprings, direction, and impact of Soviet growth? What place does the study of the Soviet-type economies now occupy in our college teaching and research, and what place should it occupy in the future?

The present Soviet economic system is the outcome of a variety of shifts and adjustments, carried out through a number of decades, within a given ownership framework, established by a revolution. In this system, the complete nationalization of nonlabor factors of production has been instrumental, along with other elements, to a heretofore unheard-of centralization of political and economic power. At the same time, various decentralizing procedures have been employed in the administration of this gigantic complex. Such procedures, are, for instance, the establishment of the principle of autonomy of the state owned enterprises and the utilization of the market for deploying labor and distributing consumers' goods. The USSR's specific institutional arrangements, its strategy of methodically emphasizing certain key sectors and finally, its techniques of comprehensive planning, have now been emulated by a number of Soviet-type economies and have all, in varying degrees, exercised an impact on the rest of the world.

Because the Soviet system is engaged in a deadly race with the market-oriented economies, because it has spread systematically to the point of encompassing now over one billion people, because it exercises an increasing influence on the vast non-committed areas of the world, it has prompted systematic study by a number of economic researchers during the past ten to fifteen years. This research has yielded, through the years, much more than a balance sheet of Soviet economic achievement. It has also furnished numerous and illuminating materials on its modus operandi, its underlying theories and assumptions, and its real as well as its purported strengths and weaknesses. The time has . . .

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