Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Soviet Economic Reform : Progress And Problems

Author: Pervez Tahir

In mid-1960s, what have come to be known as Liberman’s reform [7; 12] amongst the Western Sovietologists were introduced in the Soviet Union. In essence, the reform aimed at improving efficiency and productivity through a greater devolution of managerial control, more flexible planning process and procedures and the provision for an incentives fund to stimulate the managers as well as the workers. Liberman was certainly not the “think-tank” on the subject. In fact, there were scores of others, including Nemchinov and Trapeznikov. The operational phase of the reform started in November 1965 only after their validity had been verified through repeated trials in selected production sectors in early sixties. Its naming after Liberman is thus an outcome of the usual Western Social ‘scientists’ craze for conveniently usable, though not necessarily meaningful, expressions. That “Libermanism” does not exist, but the “Libermaniac” do, is amply borne out by Liberman’s own observation that his writings “contain nothing to give the slightest reason for such a distorted description of our reform”. Obviously, the “distortion” he is referring to is the practice to describe the reform as his brain-child. He goes on to point out that, far from being his singular innovation, the reform was “the well-balanced expression of public opinion in the USSR worked out by a great army of practical workers, scientists and leading managers” 13, p. 355].

Pervez Tahir

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