The Thirdworldization of Russia and Eastern Europe
What went wrong in the Socialist East? The usual answers range from ‘everything’ by opponents of Stalinism or ‘nothing’ according to erstwhile believers and/or supporters. The answers cover policies or ideologies and periods ranging from the first Soviet government and revolution in 1917 (or even earlier from the birth of Marxism in 1848) to those of the last government and reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev since 1985. About this last Soviet period also, the answers range from the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ position of those who thought nothing much was wrong to that of pronouncing the whole ‘system’ unworkable. Many critics in between, like Gorbachev (1987) himself, recognized failures and the need for some change like perestroika (restructuring of the economy), but not complete transformation. Other critics, however, regarded Gorbachev’s reform efforts to fix things as themselves misguided and literally counter-productive. Some of these critics argue that were it not for Gorbachev’s own policy errors, the Soviet Union and its economy could have survived for some time, if not indefinitely. Among these critics are Ellman and Kontorovich (1992) and Menshikov (1990, 1992) to whom we return below.
KeywordsWorld Economy Foreign Exchange Fiscal Policy Debt Crisis Debt Service
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