Why did the Soviet economic system fall apart? Did the economy simply overreach itself through military spending? Was it the centrally-planned character of Soviet socialism that was at fault? Or did a potentially viable mechanism come apart in Gorbachev's clumsy hands? Does its failure mean that true socialism is never economically viable? The economic dimension is at the very heart of the Russian story in the twentieth century. Economic issues were the cornerstone of soviet ideology and the soviet system, and economic issues brought the whole system crashing down in 1989-91. This book is a record of what happened, and it is also an analysis of the failure of Soviet economics as a concept.