After sudden political liberalization, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union seem poised to abandon administrative-command planning and embrace market socialism (which stops somewhere short of American-style capitalism). However, using the Soviet Union as a case in point, careful analysis of all plausible transition paths from the current system to Westernstyle markets suggests that prospects for success are dim. The revolution of rising expectations in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe sparked by Gorbachev's program of political liberalization is on a collision course with the immediate possibilities for fundamental economic change. The East is likely to be politically unstable for a long period, nor can the West alter this situation with massive foreign assistance because the Eastern nations cannot utilize the credits effectively. The Western business community therefore must be very constrained in its expectations about progress in the East and should approach the issues of private investment and governmental aid accordingly.
- Copyright © 1990 The Regents of the University of California