Comparative Economic Performance.
From World War II until the mid-1980s,the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a superpower competition for public opinion, military superiority. and economic dominance. How well did the command economies perform in the economic growth race?
Any attempt at answering this question is bedeviled by the absence of reliable statistics. Most economists believed until recently that the Soviet Union grew rapidly from 1928 until the mid-1960s, growth rates perhaps surpassing those in North America and Western Europe. After the mid-1960s, growth in the ‘ Soviet Union stagnated and output actually began to decline. Estimates of livings today are treacherous, but. per capital income in Russia in the early 1990.s appears to be less than one-quarter of that in the United States.
Finally, what of the scourges of capitalism-unemployment and inflation? Unemployment was traditionally low in Soviet-style economies because labor was generally ‘in short supply as a result of the , ambitious economic plans. Furthermore, controlled prices tended to be quite stable, so measured inflation was absent. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, open inflation erupted. In addition, prices below market-clearing levels, and acute shortages arose in what is called inflation.
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