In the book the author discusses the reasons for the collapse of the socialist system in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. He analyses the roles of economic and political factors and of the USSR. He concludes that the lack of legitimacy of the communist regime, the disintegration of the Communist Party and its ideology were at least as important reasons as increasing lag behind the West in technology and the declining standard of living.
The contributors to this volume analyze the rise of the socialist welfare system, its advantages and disadvantages. The main focus of the volume is the analysis of the changes carried out and also those expected in the welfare system in the USSR, Poland and Hungary as a result of economic reforms.
This book discusses the evolution of ideas about the desirable combination of planning and market in the former Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary since the 1960s, when major economic reforms started, up to 1991 when the countries have been engaged in a transformation of their economies into market economies. It also discusses the common and contrasting features of the debates which evolved in the countries under review.
The author discusses the traditional system of management of the economy as it existed in the early 1950s in the USSR and goes on to deal with the reforms of the 1960s and of the 1980s, country by country. He shows that the focus of the reforms is on finding a proper combination of planning and the market mechanism, and their success will be judged by their ability to solve acute economic problems.