Comparing Economic Systems

Comparing Economic Systems

A Political-Economic Approach

1st Edition - January 1, 1984

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  • Authors: Andrew Zimbalist, Howard J. Sherman
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483260938

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Comparing Economic Systems: A Political-Economic Approach presents a political-economic approach to the analysis and comparison of different types of economic systems. Full, integrated political-economic case studies of several representative countries, including Japan, Sweden, and France, are given. This book consists of six parts and begins with an overview of some definitions of the main kinds of political and economic systems; theoretical arguments from various points of view about how political and economic systems relate to each other; and the criteria for evaluating different political-economic systems. The next section considers three essentially market capitalist systems: Japan, Sweden, and France. The Soviet Union, a centrally planned, allegedly socialist economy, is examined next. More specifically, Soviet development from 1917 to 1928 and from 1928 to the present is discussed. Central planning in developing countries such as China and Cuba is also explored. Finally, the theory of market socialism is analyzed, citing the cases of Hungary and Yugoslavia. This monograph will be of value to politicians, economists, and economic policymakers.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    Part One. Introduction

    1. Political and Economic Systems

    Plan of the Book

    The Political-Economic Approach

    Socialism and Capitalism

    Democracy and Dictatorship

    Developed and Underdeveloped Economies

    Hypotheses Concerning Politics and Economics

    Comparing Economic Systems

    Controversies among Comparative Economists

    Recommended Readings

    Part Two. Market Economies and the Government

    2. Japan. Business and Government Coordination


    Corporate Structure and Finance

    Household Savings

    Labor Market Institutions

    Role of the State

    Summary and Conclusion

    Recommended Readings

    3. Sweden. The Middle Way


    Social Services and Benefits

    The Cooperative Sector

    Industrial Democracy

    Labor Market Characteristics and Policies

    Fiscal Policy

    Monetary Policy

    Supply Management

    Capital Formation


    Recommended Readings

    4. France. Indicative Planning

    The Monnet Plan

    Performance of the First Plan

    Later Plans

    Performance of Planned Goals

    The Socialist Government of Mitterrand (1981-)

    Different Views of Planning and Management

    Managing the Nationalized Firms

    Macro Performance under the Mitterrand Government

    Recommended Readings

    Part Three. Central Planning: The Soviet Case

    Soviet Economic Institutions: Differences from the United States

    Government Ownership of Industry

    Government Ownership of Agriculture

    Central Planning

    Central Planning and the University

    Public Health, Education, and Housing

    Soviet Economie Institutions: Similarities to the United States

    Plan of Part Three

    5. USSR. Development from 1917 to 1928

    Russia before 1917

    Political Evolution, 1905-1917

    War Communism

    Political Evolution, 1917-1921

    Socioeconomic Causes of Soviet Dictatorship

    The New Economic Policy

    Beginnings of NEP (1921-1923)

    The Scissors Crisis (1923-1924)

    The End of NEP (1924-1928)

    The Great Debate

    The Stalinist Solution

    Recommended Readings

    6. USSR. Development from 1928 to the Present

    Political History, 1928 to 1956

    Political Development, 1956 to the Present

    Soviet Ideology: Democracy and Dictatorship

    The First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932)

    The Second Five-Year Plan (1933-1937)

    The Third Five-Year Plan (1938-1941)

    Growth in the 1930s

    The Second World War (1941-1945)

    Reconstruction (1945-1950)

    Soviet Economic Growth, 1950 to the Present

    The Political-Ethical Issues: Consumption Vs. Investment

    A Statistical Overview of Soviet and U.S. Growth Since 1950

    Why the Soviet Economy Has Grown Faster Than the U.S. Economy

    The Decline of Soviet Growth Rates

    The Slowdown in Soviet Growth

    Appendix 6A. Problems with Soviet Statistics

    Appendix 6B. Soviet vs. U.S. "Defense Spending"

    7. USSR. The Operation of Central Planning

    Forms of Enterprise

    The Ministry System

    The Organization of the Planning Mechanism

    The Price System

    The Second Economy

    Appendix 7A. Soviet Planning for International Trade

    Method of Planning International Trade

    The Volume of Trade

    Recommended Readings

    Recommended Readings for Appendix

    8. USSR. Planning for Balance

    Aggregate Balance

    No General Unemployment

    Causes of Inflation

    The Lack of Balance and Its Cure

    Problems of Coordination

    Input-Output Method

    Problems of the Soviet Balance Method

    Limitations of Input-Output Method

    Appendix 8A. The Input-Output Technique

    Recommended Readings

    9. USSR. Planning for Efficiency

    Need for Rational Prices

    Optimal Conditions and Planning

    Information and Computation Problems

    Central and Decentralized Solutions

    A Tentative Summary of Conclusions

    The "Law of Value" in the Soviet Union

    Prices and Efficiency

    Summary of the Planning Debate

    Choice of Technology

    Decision Making, Democracy, and Efficiency

    Appendix 9A. Linear Programming in the Soviet Context

    An Example

    Recommended Readings

    10. USSR. Class Structure: Rulers, Managers, Workers, and Farmers

    The Soviet Ruling Class


    Soviet Income Distribution and Inequality

    Stratification of the Soviet Working Class

    Soviet Managers

    Soviet Industrial Workers

    Soviet Agricultural Workers

    Appendix 10A. Trade Unions

    Soviet Trade Unions

    Polish Trade Unions

    U.S. Trade Unions

    Recommended Readings

    11. USSR. Reform and Regression, After 1965

    Political Background of Reform

    Economic Problems Leading to Reform

    Problems of the Soviet Enterprise

    The Liberman Debate

    Official Reforms

    What Happened to the Reforms?

    Continuing Contradictions

    Recommended Readings

    Part Four. Central Planning: The Developing Countries

    12. China. A Changing Model


    Economic Development and the Transformation of the Chinese Economy

    The Cultural Revolution

    The Post-Mao Reforms

    Industrial Reform

    Agricultural Reform

    Reform Problems


    Recommended Readings

    13. Cuba. Socialism Next Door


    Early Development Strategy

    Planning in the 1960s

    Economic Change, 1970-1975

    Economic Change Since 1975

    Achievements of the Cuban Revolution

    Soviet Economic Aid



    Recommended Readings

    Part Five. Market Socialism

    14. The Theory of Market Socialism

    The Economics of Market Socialism

    Alternative Market Socialist Models

    Recommended Readings

    15. Hungary. Plan and Market


    Early Economic Reform

    The New Economic Mechanism

    NEM: The Second Phase


    Recommended Readings

    16. Yugoslavia. Self-Management and the Market

    Early Economic Policy: The Emergence of the Yugoslav Model

    Economic Reforms of 1965

    Income Distribution

    The Economic Theory of Worker Management

    Yugoslav Worker Management in Practice

    The Reforms of the 1970s


    Recommended Readings

    Part Six. Conclusion

    17. Comparing Economic Systems

    General Remarks

    Evaluating Performance


    Criteria and Performance

    Final Remarks

    Appendix 17A. A Controlled Comparison: East and West Germany

    Per Capita Income and Growth



    Income Distribution

    Other Criteria

    Recommended Readings


Product details

  • No. of pages: 496
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1984
  • Published: January 1, 1984
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483260938

About the Authors

Andrew Zimbalist

Howard J. Sherman

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