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Editor's Introduction

  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology


Recent issues of >i>Problems of Economics>/i> have carried several articles illustrating the pro-market orientation of some of the country's leading economists (see, in particular, the February 1988 and March 1989 issues). But these views have not gone unchallenged in the Soviet economic literature. A comparatively nonideological critique of the readiness of some Soviet economists to extend the market mechanism appears in the lead article of our current issue by N. Vladova and N. Rabkina ("Property and the Market"). These critics do not question the need for the utilization of "commodity-monetary relations" but they do reject the notion of reliance on the market mechanism as the "basic regulator of the economy"âa function which Soviet economists like N. Shmelev are prepared to accept. For Vladova and Rabkina the functioning of the market mechanism (as the "basic regulator") is inextricably connected with a particular system of (private) property ownership. At an early stage of the socialist transformation, when the values associated with the old system are still very much alive, it is possible to rely temporarily on a NEP-like system (using "instruments and methods specific to earlier formations"). But given the changes in institutions, values, and mass psychology since then, a return to a market-directed system is an unrealistic prospectâsome changes are simply "irreversible."

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