The real place arid role of the socialist economies of the East in the world economy is ironical, indeed, if it is compared to their spokesmen's theoretical hopes and ideological claims. Just before he died, Joseph Stalin claimed in The Economic Problems of Socialism that by then there were two separate and different economic and social systems in the world, one capitalist and the other socialist. Mikhail Gorbachev's domestic economic perestroika reforms and the political glasnost liberalization necessary therefore testify to the unavoidable Soviet need to improve its capacity to compete in the world economy, which he says no one can any longer avoid. The debt of the socialist countries increased from US$8 billion in 1971 to $80 billion in 1981; that of the Third World increased from US$100 billion in 1971 to $800 billion in 1981. Each progressive government or regime in its turn is threatened and blackmailed with economic isolation and political de-stabilization.