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This book contains important contributions by prominent economic theorists - among them Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow - and by leading experts on Marxist economic thought and the Soviet economy such as Abram Bergson.
The book opens with an introductory essay by Padma Desai on the life and work of Alexander Erlich, the distinguished Russian-born economist and Sovietologist. Essays in the first part of the book focus on central tenets in Marxist economic theory, and are by Samuelson ( Marx without Matrixes: Understanding the Rate of Profit ), Duncan Foley, and John Roemer.
The book's second part covers resource allocation and international comparisons of Centrally Planned Economies (CPEs), Arrow, Desai and Ricardo Martin, and Richard Ericson address the issues of efficient resource allocation. Bergson and Martin Weitzman deal in separate essays with the problems of comparing CPE economic performance with that of a market economy, whereas Franklyn Holzman discusses the interactions between CPEs and market economies in his study of dumping, The Polish Golf Cart Case. Richard Portes compares central planners and monetarists, suggesting that they might be fellow travelers who follow the same economic road for a considerable distance before their paths diverge.
The final part of the book explores several key aspects of the Soviet economy. Holland Hunter writes on Soviet planning in the 1930s and Gregory Grossman, in Economics of Virtuous Haste, examines post-revolutionary industrialization. Joseph Berliner discusses the issues of social structure and fertility, and, in the final essay, Robert Campbell reviews energy pricing policies and decisions on energy use in the USSR.