Faulty Foundations: Soviet Economic Policies, 1928-1940

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Faulty Foundations: Soviet Economic Policies, 1928-1940

By Holland Hunter and Janusz M. Szyrmer
Princeton University Press, 1992
339 pp. $49.50
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To quote the authors, "This is a study in economic history, designed to identify the economic policies and practices, launched at the end of the 1920s, that have gradually brought the U.S.S.R. to its present unenviable state." Economics as studied by economists, not politics or culture, forms the basis of the book. The heart of the matter for them features three questions: Had the Soviets followed a different growth strategy could the stock of fixed capital have been larger on the eve of the Second World War? Could a different composition of capital stock have better defended the U.S.S.R. against Nazi invasion? And were the sacrifices and hardships imposed on the Soviet people from 1929-40 necessary in order to achieve the regime's economic goals?