CAPITALISM, COMMUNISM AND COEXISTENCE: From the Bitter Past to a Better Prospect by John Kenneth & Stanislav Menshikov Galbraith

CAPITALISM, COMMUNISM AND COEXISTENCE: From the Bitter Past to a Better Prospect

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Galbraith and his Soviet interlocutor and sometime foil Menshikov (Worm Marxist Review) here renew their longstanding acquaintance by addressing heady topics in a pastoral setting. This book, a transcript of discussions held last summer at Galbraith's celebrated Putney, Vt., retreat, is noteworthy for the politesse of the dialogists and the summer afternoon somnolence of their dialogue. Galbraith, in good form as the courtly, wry host, only rarely rouses his Olympian insouciance to chide his guest, while Menshikov, earnest and deadpan, brings ""convergence"" theory to life in a display of faculty-club like-mindedness. Loath to score points and count coups, the protagonists proceed to vet the vexing issues facing fin de millenium superpowerdom. Starting with the fate-of-capitalism/socialism and ending with the fate-of-the-earth, this monologue for two finds Galbraith deploring Reaganomics and championing a designer-label capitalism (""The Galbraith Reforms""), while Menshikov deplores bureaucratic fossilization and champions a designer-label socialism (""The Gorbachev Reforms""). At odds over the role of the market, the place of consumption, and the import of transnational corporations (training ground for an ""international civil service"" in Galbraith's sanguine view), both are agreed that an ""act of political will"" is required to effect the breakout from the doomsday threat of ""superpower syndrome."" Agreeable to a fault, Galbraith and his Soviet guest hardly cause a stir in the stale confines of East debates West--a shame, considering all the fresh air we keep hearing about.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1988
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin