THE WORLD FROM.Cambridge, Mass. American and Soviet Experts Hope to Set Soviets on the Pathway to Democracy and a Free Market

By Francis, David R. | The Christian Science Monitor, June 18, 1991 | Go to article overview

THE WORLD FROM.Cambridge, Mass. American and Soviet Experts Hope to Set Soviets on the Pathway to Democracy and a Free Market


Francis, David R., The Christian Science Monitor


HARVARD University professor Graham Allison gave several Soviet economists a sweat shirt with the words written on it (in Russian): "Just Do It."

He, a few other academics from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the six Soviet economists are trying to persuade Soviet leaders to act on reform, not just talk about it.

Mr. Allison, a former dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, says there is too much planning in the Soviet Union, too much preparation, too much utopianism.

The small group of Soviet and American economists or political scientists have high ambitions.

Over the past three weeks they have devised a plan, a "grand bargain" that would dramatically change the world if - a big "if accepted by the leaders of the Soviet Union and the Western industrial democracies. It would transform the Soviet Union into a democracy and a full-fledged market economy. It would commit the United States and the other six members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations to assist this transformation with both technical help and unspecified billions of dollars of financing.

The Soviet Union would become a "normal country, a civilized country," as some Soviet citizens put it, not a country driven by Marxist-Leninist ideology and pledged to world revolution.

Economists, of course, have had a major impact on world history. John Maynard Keynes, the famed British economist, wrote about the influence of "dead economists." Keynes, representing the British government, along with Harry Dexter White, a Harvard man and undersecretary of the US Treasury, and economist Edward Bernstein, were leading designers of the system of financial institutions - the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and, in a way, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - which stemm ed from the 1944 Bretton Woods conference and still help maintain the world economic order. …

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