This paper, adapted from a talk given before the Pasadena Senior Curriculum, October 30, 1990, presents the author's view of the poor prospects for Soviet economic improvement in the short and medium terms. He discusses some necessary conditions for real long-term growth in any economy, and reviews the short- and medium-term outlook for Soviet economic performance even if all the necessary policy changes and economic institutions were adopted. Finally, he discusses Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program, which illustrates the adverse constraints imposed by the past and the poor outlook for the future.
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.
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.