ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Ramnath NarayanswamySubscribe to Ramnath Narayanswamy

Perestroika Growing Signs of Tension

Ramnath Narayanswamy The question of economic reform in the socialist world must be viewed as a long-drawn process marked by advances as much as by setbacks rather than As a time-bound package of socio- economic changes designed to dramatically alter the status quo THERE is perhaps no country in the world that has been as subject to the relentless dictates of historical imperatives as Russia. The passage of time paradoxically has not diminished but has actually intensified the resistance that Russia as a country continues to display towards joining the mainstream of European industrialisation and development. These imperatives were also responsible for the isolation that Russia has historically suffered from, the absence of democratic traditions and the kind of industrialisation that characterised the country. Russia was a latecomer to the process of industrialisation when compared to the test of her European neighbours. All of which has had a lasting impact in creating a socioeconomic system which continues to be remarkably resistant to fundamental reform.

Soviet Union Long March to Perestroika

The Gorbachev reform might well result in opening a 'third path' to substantive economic reform in contrast to the Hungarian model of decentralised planning on the one hand and the Chinese attempt to articulate a model of growth based on individual interest in increasing consumption and efficiency on the other.

Eastern Europe Divided over Perestroika

indicative, as they have been visually estimated into number from bar diagram given in The Economist, 26 November- 2 December, 1988. of 100x dollars; and the market price of the bond goes up by half this amount. The creditor bank and the debtor country, in effect, distribute this benefit of 100x equally between themselves.

Czechoslovakia A Defeat for Reformers

Reformers? Ramnath Narayanswamy The Czech leadership's studied indifference to the Gorbachev initiative is marked by three distinct yet interrelated aspects: a historical aspect of an open refusal to reassess the events that led to the Prague Spring, an economic aspect of a continuing slow down in Czech economic performance for which radical economic reform is not considered a possible solution and a political aspect of most of the leading reformers having been purged from the higher and middle echelons of the party THE largely unexpected resignations of the Czechoslovak prime minister, Lubomir Strougal, and his counterpart for Slovakia, Petr Colotka

Yugoslavia Self-Management or Mismanagement

The Yugoslav experience in workers' self-management is a rich illustration of the kind of problems that an economy aiming to combine such self-management with the market mechanism is likely to face.

Time for Reflection in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe Ramnath Narayanswamy In contrast to the Soviet Union, the prospects of substantive economic reform in eastern Europe appear none too encouraging.

Czechoslovakia Reforming under Pressure

the Jharkhand movement should not be confined within the level of politics alone but should also involve social, economic, cultural and literary movements which too reflect the aspirations of the Jharkhandi people. The programme is the outcome of long years of struggle on various fronts. Some important landmarks in the struggle are: Mayurbhanj agitation for merger with Bihar in 1949, the displaced persons movement, that began with the Damodar Valley Project and Bokaro Steel factory and matured in the seventies to resistance struggles at Subarnarekha and Koel-Karo projects. These brought all the local people together. The worker-peasant movement of 1973-74 in the formative period of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was another landmark. In the post-emergency phase of broad democratic movements all the political parties came together in 1977 to form an All Party Sangharsh Samiti. None of these fronts on economic and political issues persisted for long, being vulnerable to the divisive propaganda. But the foundation for a lasting unity has been laid meanwhile by the literary and cultural movements. Among those of particular importance is the OI Chiki script movement among the Santhals to resist the cultural alienation from one another especially of the younger generation in different states. Santhals in the three .states had to learn Santhali in three different scripts and their literature was becoming unintelligible to one another. Similar efforts have been made among some other communities though with less success.

Poland The Reform That Never Was

The emphasis in the present set of reform measures is mainly centred around gaining social acceptance of the changes with an important role being accorded to workers' self-management, but linking independence to greater responsibility. But the country seems to be caught between conflicting forces of fossilisation and militarisation, making any far-reaching changes highly improbable.

Unions, Workers Ownership and the 1920s

Mayur, R, 1983: 'U.rban Crisis in India', Populi, Morris, D, 1982: "Self-Reliant Cities, Energy and the Transformation of Urban America", Sierra Books, San Francisco, Morris, D, 1983: 'City-States: Laboratories of the 1980s', Environment, 25(6).

Perfecting the Centralised Model

Ramnath Narayanswamy Instead of attempting a framework of decentralisation on market lines, the East German economic reform has been the most systematic attempt in Eastern Europe to improve the centralised model based on state ownership and centralised planning. The relative failure of the reform highlights the extraordinarily difficult nature of the transition of the East European economies from extensive growth dependent on quantitative increases in labour and capital to intensive growth centred on more efficient use of labour and capital.

BULGARIA- How Far Can the Centralised Model be Reformed

BULGARIA How Far Can the Centralised Model be Reformed? Ramnath Narayanswamy A PRELIMINARY investigation of centrally-planned economies reveals an economic system characterised by varying degrees of centralisation in which the process of economic reform has still to meaningfully transform the sources of inflexibility that have, institutionalised themselves over several decades of extensive growth. While the deficiencies of the system are several, ranging from over investment, inefficiency and wastage to bureaucratic mismanagement of resources, inflation and chronic shortage, most specialists agree that the major problem confronting the socialist economies of Eastern Europe lies in excessive centralism. It is therefore not surprising to find that the process of economic reform in Eastern Europe has either been directed towards perfecting the centralised model or moving away from the traditional model through a combination of nominal central control and the market.

ROMANIA-Socialist Corporatism and Command Economy

ROMANIA Socialist Corporatism and Command Economy Ramnath Narayanswamy UNLIKE Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which have at various periods attempted to radically overhaul the centralised model of the Soviet type, the Romanian economy like its Bulgarian counterpart, has always been characterised by a degree of centralisation of decisionmaking that is unusual even by Comecon standards.1 Plan targets are imposed on individual enterprises with virtually little or no consultation preceding the process. According to D Granick, a noted specialist on east European affairs, the role of enterprise managers in Romania "has almost exclusively centred upon improving efficiency", and as far as economic decisions are concerned, they "are taken in ministries or higher bodies or they are not taken at all".2 While Granick's study was published in 1975, a report published by the World Bank in 1979 continued to maintain that "industrial enterprises in Romania arc organisations oriented primarily towards production with limited autonomy and decision-making responsibilities outside production"3 The story of economic reform in Romania is however a late one and goes back to a decree promulgated in December 1967 authorising a series of industrial reforms for 'Improving the Management and Planning of the National Economy'. According to the new directives, the basic production unit was to be the industrial central (centrala) which was a national horizontal integration of one large enterprise with smaller ones. The implementation of economic reform in Romania went through three stages, the first which was in effect from 1969-1972, the second during 1973-1977 and the third stage which was inaugurated from 1978-1979.


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