International Trade under Communism: Politics and Economics

International Trade under Communism: Politics and Economics

International Trade under Communism: Politics and Economics

International Trade under Communism: Politics and Economics

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to explain how the international economic system of the Communist bloc operates and, more particularly, how economic factors constrain, are constrained by, and otherwise interact with political, diplomatic, strategic, and military forces in international relations. For the most part, the book focuses on the U.S.S.R. and the other nations of Eastern Europe with which the U.S.S.R. is most closely associated—Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, or G.D.R.), Hungary, Poland, and Rumania. These nations, along with the Mongolian People's Republic and Cuba, currently make up the fully participating members of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA, CEMA, or Comecon), the customs union counterpart in Eastern Europe of the European Economic Community in Western Europe. Very little reference is made in this book to Mongolia or Cuba, or to Albania (which left CMEA in the early 1960s), Yugoslavia, China, North Korea, or North Vietnam. The European CMEA nations have much closer relationships with each other than they do with the other Communist nations, and their relationships with the non-Communist world are more alike. In this book, reference is made to Communist nations, socialist nations, centrally planned economies (CPEs), and so forth. Unless otherwise indicated, these terms usually refer to the European CMEA nations and not to the other Communist countries.

The first chapter introduces the reader to some of the fundamental political and economic characteristics of the Communist nations, an essential prerequisite to understanding their foreign trade and investment behavior. The most obvious differences between Communist and Western capitalist nations are the much greater political and economic centralization and control in the former, as exemplified by one-party . . .

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