ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Soviet Economic Reform-Uneasy Struggle between Efficiency and Equity

Soviet Economic Reform Uneasy Struggle between Efficiency and Equity Samuel Paul MIKHAIL GORBACHEV'S 'radical economic reform' has spawned a wide ranging debate about the future of communism. Some western observers see the vindication of the capitalist path in Gorbachev's swing towards the market system. Conservative Marxists consider his initiative a betrayal of the revolution. Economists and political scientists alike have assessed the nature and risks of the new reform and speculated on the prospects for communism should his bold initiative fail. Some believe that if the Soviet Union does not soon embrace radical change, it is condemned to being indefinitely a second rate power with a third rate economy.1 A number of learned books have appeared in recent months on the new Soviet economic reform.2 Among these, Reforming the Soviet Economy (A Hewett (ed), Brookings Institution, Washington DC, 1988) stands out both for its incisive analysis of the issues and the historical perspective and balance it provides on the Soviet predicament. He offers an analytical framework within which economic reforms can be assessed and begins with a perceptive account of the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet economy. There is a detailed analysis of the reforms of the post-Stalin era (by Krushchev, Kosygin and Brezhnev) which set the stage for the current reform. Gorbachev's reform and broad strategy are discussed against this historical backdrop. Hewett concludes the book with an assessment of the prospects of the reform and its likely impact and implications for the Soviet Union and the rest of the world.

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