chapter  13
18 Pages

ECONOMICS OF SOCIALISM

WithPaul G. Hare

The socialist economies that have operated for much of the post-war period-the USSR, the six Eastern European members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) together with Yugoslavia and Albania, China and a number of smaller developing countries-had very different political, institutional and economic management systems from those that characterize developed Western economies. Perhaps the most significant differences were indicated by the dominant position of the communist party in socialist political systems, by the prevalence of state ownership of most productive assets and by the use of plan targets rather than the market mechanism to determine what is produced, by whom it is produced and to whom it should be allocated. Of course there were differences between the socialist countries in the details of these arrangements, but the basic features were common to all. In this chapter I shall be dealing, for the most part, with what might be considered the typical socialist economy as it was before the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 (Hawkes 1990; Rollo 1990), without worrying greatly about these individual differences.