GORBACHEV ON PERESTROIKA
In Perestroika ( 1987), Mikhail Gorbachev explained his reform program to Soviet citizens and the world at large. The passages excerpted here discuss the need for reform of the Soviet system, the manner in which Gorbachev expected such reform to occur, and the role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
Perestroika is an urgent necessity arising from the profound processes of development in our society. This society is ripe for change. It has long been yearning for it. Any delay in beginning perestroika could have led to an exacerbated internal situation in the near future, which, to put it bluntly, would have been fraught with serious social, economic and political crises. . . .
Accustomed to giving priority to quantitative growth in production, we tried to check the falling rates of growth, but did so mainly by continually increasing expenditures: we built up the fuel and energy industries and increased the use of natural resources in production.
As time went on, material resources became harder to get and more expensive. On the other hand, the extensive methods of fixed capital expansion resulted in an artificial shortage of manpower. In an attempt to rectify the situation somehow, large, unjustified, i.e. in fact unearned, bonuses began to be paid and all kinds of undeserved incentives introduced under the pressure of this shortage, and that led, at a later stage, to the practice of padding reports merely for gain. Parasitical attitudes were on