The Soviet economy faces in this decade the most fundamental peacetime problems it has known since the beginnings of the command system in the 1920s. Western analysts are virtually unanimous on the Soviets' economic difficulties but disagree among themselves about the implications. In this paper the author presents some essential background information on the issues involved. Topics discussed include the fifteen years of declining performance from 1965 to 1980; the Soviet 11th Plan; the actual performance of the 11th Plan in 1981 and plans for 1982; and the implications of the Soviet decline for the 1980s, including nonsystemic and systemic factors. The final section of the paper discusses the connections between Soviet economic problems and military spending and the burden that military expenditures may represent for the Soviet economy.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.