To the titular question, Zavalani's answer is- not very. A one time communist, and now a writer on economic affairs for the B.B.C., his present thoughts about the Soviet can be illustrated by such statements as ""... everything they do costs them two or three times more than any advanced industrial country of the West..."" or, "".... decisive cause of the failure of Soviet economic planning is the dictatorship of the proletariat, which implies the centralized direction from Moscow of economic life down to the smallest detail"". Although sweeping, these and other statements are fairly well documented in a series of descriptions, with tables and charts, of each of the five year plans which are broken down into the main aspect of industry, agriculture and politics. Zavalani of course maintains that Russia is not weak. But collectivism of the Soviet sort stifles initiative and the taking of individual responsibility and fosters ineffeciency and wastage of a kind even more disgraceful than our dumping of oranges and potatoes to keep up farm prices. The M.V.D. alone prevents the disintegration that would result naturally from a bungling bureaucracy. Though careful and thoughtful, this, in its ignorance of the more pressing issues of atomic power and political aspirations, is another reiterative study that will probably go the way of many a forgotten economic treatise.