A PATTERN FOR FAILURE: Socialist Economies in Crises by Sven Rydenfelt

A PATTERN FOR FAILURE: Socialist Economies in Crises

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In case there's anyone still around who thinks otherwise, Swedish economist Rydenfelt--seconded by his teacher, US free-marketeer Milton Friedman--wants us to know that the USSR and every other ""socialist"" economy is inefficient, unproductive, under strain (saving, to a degree, private-enterprise-tolerant Hungary). The cautionary lesson they draw, citing the American, German, and Japanese ""economic miracles"" (as well as the East Asian ""miracle countries"" of Singapore, etc.), is that entrepreneurship shouldn't be fettered. The bulk of the book consists of cursory historical rundowns on 15 ""socialist"" bad examples (there are about seven pages on China, four on India)--stressing the general killing of incentives, the artificially low pegging of food prices, the overall disjunction between costs and prices (and, in several instances, reliance on borrowed funds and imported food). As Rydenfelt himself is aware, writing of disenchantment among Westerners, none of this is news. Meanwhile his supposed corollary--""all dreams of democratic socialism are. . . utopian""--fails to come to grips with the centrally-directed, mixed, welfare-state economies of Northern Europe. . . or to recognize the highly circumscribed democracy, and controlled economies, of a success-state like Singapore. This small (174 pp.), pricey book is merely back-up material for people of the same fixed view.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1984
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich