Technological Innovation and Political Change in Communist Eastern Europe.

by Richard Voyles Burks

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An examination of the nature of the dilemma posed for European Communist leaderships as they seek to increase their productivity while maintaining tight political control. Symptomatic of the effect of an inflexible, power-oriented, centrally controlled command structure is the low rate of technological innovation in Eastern as compared with Western Europe. The widening technological gap is forcing the Communists to modify both their philosophy and their economic system. All East European states except Albania have some kind of economic reform under way. The more conservative type of reform (East Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria) eases the central command problem, but runs the serious risk of not achieving significant gains. The more radical reform (Yugoslavia, Hungary, and, until 1968, Czechoslovakia) shifts to a market economy and risks economic and political pluralization. In time, the pressures of the weapon and space race and far-flung commitments may force the USSR to face up to market reforms. 74 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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