Lost Opportunity

Overview

A lucid analysis of Russia's titanic struggle to change from a centrally planned economy to a market economy.
Combining trenchant commentary with first-person reporting, Marshall I. Goldman provides the clearest picture yet of how Boris Yeltsin took on the task of reforming the Russian economy and what happened along the way. Goldman has added a new chapter for the paperback edition on recent developments.

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Overview

A lucid analysis of Russia's titanic struggle to change from a centrally planned economy to a market economy.
Combining trenchant commentary with first-person reporting, Marshall I. Goldman provides the clearest picture yet of how Boris Yeltsin took on the task of reforming the Russian economy and what happened along the way. Goldman has added a new chapter for the paperback edition on recent developments.

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Editorial Reviews

Barry Bosworth - New York Times Book Review
“[Goldman] draw[s] on his vast knowledge to provide some insights into why reform is so difficult in the Russian context and why some of the efforts of recent years have gone awry. ”
Foreign Affairs
“A lively and highly readable account.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a compelling, meticulous analysis of Boris Yeltsin's unsuccessful attempt to find a workable blueprint for economic reform, Wellesley economics professor Goldman focuses on the Russian leader's abortive ``shock therapy,'' meant to shake up a centrally planned, monolithic system. The methods, which Yeltsin learned from economist Yegor Gaidar, whom he appointed acting prime minister in 1992, included decontrol of consumer prices and cuts in subsidies to farms and factories. Shock therapy was doomed to failure, Goldman argues, because there were no corresponding reforms in monopolized industry or the service sector, there was no dormant market infrastructure to be jolted into action, and the private sphere opened up by Mikhail Gorbachev had come under the control of a Russian mafia. Associate director of Harvard's Russian Research Center, Goldman offers instructive comparisons between the Soviet experiment and more gradual, effective reforms in Germany, Japan, Poland and China. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Goldman What Went Wrong with Perestroika?, LJ 10/15/91 ventures into an intensive examination of the economic consequences of the events that led to the breakup of the Soviet Union. He starts with a summary of the events leading to the fall of Gorbachev and the rise of Yeltsin. The reform process, he asserts, has been troubled from the beginning because of bad decisions based on erroneous economic theories. A revealing quote: "Gorbachev never understood that the purpose of economic reform should be to make people's lives better." Charts cover money supply, economic plans proposed and rejected by Gorbachev, and economic conditions prior to reform. This is a well-written, thoroughly researched examination of the failure of economic reforms in Russia, written by a true expert in the field. It compliments recent works such as Lynn D. Nelson's Property to the People M.E. Sharpe, 1993. Essential for all business, economics, and international studies collections.-Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., Phoenix, Ariz.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393314854
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Marshall I. Goldman is associate director of the Russian Research Center at Harvard University. He is the author of several books on the Soviet Union and comparative economic systems.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Reform That Never Was 1
2 The Rise of Boris Yeltsin 31
3 The Breakup of the Soviet Union 50
4 Economic Advice 64
5 Shock Therapy 94
6 Privatization 122
7 Lessons of History: Postwar West Germany and Japan 145
8 Gradualism or Shock Therapy: Hungary versus Poland 160
9 China as a Model 190
10 Economic Aid: Great Expectations - Massive Disappointments 213
11 The Clash between Economics and History 229
Notes 259
Bibliography 277
Index 281
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