Synopses & Reviews
Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika is a historic effort at restructuring the troubled Soviet economy. Wide-ranging in scope, harnessed with cultural and political reforms, it raises intriguing and important questions: Are Gorbachev's ideas different from the Kosygin-Brezhnev reform of 1965 that came to naught? What kinds of problems do the Russians have in understanding the market system? Who opposes perestroika? Do Gorbachev's proposals threaten his own future as Soviet leader? How does perestroika relate to a more general environment of openness, of glasnost? What happened at the June 1988 Party Conference? And, above all, is the old order really giving way to a new one? Or does Gorbachev aim at "capitalist icing on a socialist cake"?.
To answer these questions and others, Padma Desai, a distinguished pioneer in the modern econometric analysis of the Soviet economy, has distilled from Gorbachev's myriad decrees the outlines of his strategy for doing away with the Soviet Union's long-term economic malaise. Focusing on the key areas of industry, agriculture, services, and foreign trade, she discusses specific blueprints for change and evaluates the possibilities for their success. Skillfully combining charts, photographs, cartoons, and quotes, this book offers a unique and coherent view of the strategy underlying Gorbachev's reform efforts to date--and does so gracefully and with sparkle, in terms completely understandable to the layperson.
Originally published in 1989.
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"I found this book to be one of the most instructive and, at the same time, succinct, descriptions of the various aspects of perestroika. Especially admirable is Professor Desai's ability to combine highly professional economic analysis of the process with a general political and social picture of the Soviet Union and the problems it faces."--Adam B. Ulam, Harvard University