In the countries of real socialism attempts at reform had their ups and downs during the past two decades. The economic reforms introduced in the 1960s were followed by recentralizing tendencies at the beginning of the next decade. The economic reform that was embarked on by China in 1978, and the radical reconstruction announced by Gorbachev, seem to herald a new reform thrust. To answer the question must first consider a conceptual dilemma. An economic system of socialism may be defined in two different ways. The obstacles previously encountered by incipient reforms were political, social, ideological and economic. These four aspects rarely take effect in isolation. Mostly reciprocities may be observed, such as interdependence between political and ideological, between social and economic and between economic and political factors. The Czechoslovak reform period of the 1960s followed upon a profound economic crisis, and so did the reform movement in Poland almost two decades later.