In This Review

Coercion and Control in Communist Society: The Visible Hand in a Command Economy
Coercion and Control in Communist Society: The Visible Hand in a Command Economy
By Maria Hirszowicz
St. Martin's, 1986, 226 pp.

Starting from the premise that centrally planned economies must rest on administrative controls and in the last analysis on coercion, the author examines the strains and crises that have afflicted the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe. The need for reform runs up against the iron limits to reform, for anything that appears to be a threat to "socialism" cannot be tolerated, not, at any rate, by Moscow, even if Eastern European regimes might toy with or succumb to it. The greater part of the study is devoted to Poland and the ways in which economic, social and political factors there have interacted and combined to produce problems that are in some ways typical of all command economies and in other ways unique. The themes are not new, but this book offers interesting variations on them.