Readings on the Soviet Economy

Readings on the Soviet Economy

Readings on the Soviet Economy

Readings on the Soviet Economy

Excerpt

There has been widespread interest in the Soviet economy ever since the Bolshevik Revolution of November, 1917. The Soviet leaders radically changed the organization of Russian economic activity — introducing objectives, institutions, mechanisms of control, forms of organization, and the like, which, until the development of parallel organizations in eastern Europe and China after World War II, were different from those of all other nations. The opportunity to observe an alternative economic system in action was taken up eagerly by a few Western scholars and a number of interesting articles and monographs appeared during the interwar period.

Interest in the Soviet economy has, if anything, increased with the passage of time. The importance of studying the Soviet economy has also increased; for while it was before World War II an isolated island of complete planning and "socialism," today, as we noted above, the Soviet system has been extended, albeit with some variations, to the nations of eastern Europe and mainland China. Furthermore, because of its impressive record of industrial growth, the Soviet planning model is viewed today as a possible alternative by dozens of underdeveloped nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As a result of the general increase in scholarly activity in recent years, heightened interest in Soviet-type economies has been matched by vastly increased research and publication in this area. Many times more relevant books and articles have been published every year since World War II than was true in the years of the prewar period. Interested persons can no longer obtain the most authoritative available information as they could in the thirties by reading the few general books and articles which had been published. Today the student is confronted with the problem of searching out and choosing among dozens of books and thousands of articles. Many of these are published in esoteric journals and deal with some specialized aspect of the Soviet economy. The relative merits of these sources must often remain conjectural to the nonspecialist.

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