Comparing Economic Systems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780127810508, 9781483260938

Comparing Economic Systems

1st Edition

A Political-Economic Approach

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Authors: Andrew Zimbalist Howard J. Sherman
eBook ISBN: 9781483260938
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st January 1984
Page Count: 496
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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


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



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© Academic Press 1984
1st January 1984
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Andrew Zimbalist

Howard J. Sherman

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