Reforming the Soviet Economy: Equality Versus Efficiency

Reforming the Soviet Economy: Equality Versus Efficiency

Reforming the Soviet Economy: Equality Versus Efficiency

Reforming the Soviet Economy: Equality Versus Efficiency

Synopsis

In this book, Ed A. Hewett provides a detailed, scholarly guide that analyzes Soviet economic reforms.

Excerpt

Russia began this century as a primarily rural and poor country, militarily weak, in political decay. As the century draws to a close, the ussr, with Russia at its core, has emerged as one of the world's two superpowers with the unquestioned capability to destroy the human race. in between lie Lenin's revolution and Stalin's industrialization, which together transformed Russia and profoundly affected the entire globe.

But the transformation was an uneven one in which military power and improved living standards were purchased through a brute-force industrialization controlled centrally by a party and a government committed to the management of even the smallest details of economic life. Human rights, and even human material needs, were given second priority behind the needs of the nation's, and the party's, security. the USSR's enormously rich endowments in material resources provided the huge quantities of "fuel" required to run this industrialization machine. the result was an economy run by and for bureaucrats, biased toward heavy industry and geared to focus on quantity, not quality.

In March 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the post of general secretary, he inherited an economy overripe for reform and a population eager for change. He has set himself to the task with an enthusiasm and a vision that have captured the attention of the world. Gorbachev understands the narrow, primarily military, foundations on which Soviet superpower status rests, and he is clearly concerned about the long-term viability of such a posture. His response is a program for military, economic, political, and social reform that--if it is fully implemented-- will match Lenin's revolution in its implications for the ussr, and possibly for the world. It is too early to judge Gorbachev's chances for success or failure. What is important now is to understand what he must do, in order to gauge his progress.

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