Franklyn D. Holzman and Robert Legvold
Conceived modestly, the idea of East-West interdependence offers a convenient framework for exploring the intersection of politics with economics, of national economic goals with international economic relations, and, ultimately, of East-West efforts to increase economic cooperation with Western efforts to restructure international economic institutions. By interdependence we do not mean to imply a decisive set of arrangements, capable of impinging on the most fundamental economic and political choices of the other party. Rather, we have in mind a lesser level of mutual dependence in which both or all parties view cooperation as a useful but not a decisive means for pursuing some or all of their essential economic goals. More simply, we use the term because, better than any other, it underscores the difference between an economic relationship imposed by political confrontation, and reflected in economic warfare and autarky, and an economic relationship benefiting from the easing of political tension, evident in a common recognition of gains, political as well as economic, to be had from cooperation.
Our primary focus is on the interaction of forces favoring and those obstructing a significant level of East-West economic cooperation-on the "dialectics" of interdependence. The first part of this essay introduces Soviet and East European reasons for wishing to increase their economic involvement with the West. Their eagerness to improve efficiency and growth by importing Western technology, capital, and technique constitutes a major, perhaps the major, economic impetus to interdependence. And it provides a justification, beyond the limitations of our individual expertise, for writing this article largely from the perspective of Soviet and East European interests.
In contrast, the second part weighs the fundamental impediments placed on the process of promoting interdependence by the organization and operation of the centrally planned economies. Again, our emphasis is on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, because we think that the techniques of central planning in these
Franklyn D. Holzman is a professor of economics at Tufts University and Robert Legvold is an associate professor of political science at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.