This first-rate book, by a Polish economist who was in the Comecon secretariat for five years in the 1960s and has since watched Eastern Europe closely from Vienna, provides an analytical narrative of the organization's work from the beginning to the early Gorbachev years. Although it deals with many subjects, including Soviet domination, the relation of Comecon to the Warsaw Pact and the different conditions in the member countries, the book never loses sight of the fundamental difficulties that have limited cooperation and stood in the way of real integration. As the story ends, in 1987, the one-time insider wonders if perestroika will lead to more divergence among the national economic systems or to a healthy emphasis on economic aims and equality.
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