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L'efficienza del sistema sovietico di produzione industriale: burocrazia, concorrenza e rapporti fiduciari

RONALD WINTROBE and Alba Scardino
Stato e mercato
No. 21 (3) (DICEMBRE 1987), pp. 375-402
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24650068
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
L'efficienza del sistema sovietico di produzione industriale: burocrazia, concorrenza e rapporti fiduciari
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Abstract

The Soviet system is typically modelled as a command society. The numerous inefficiencies of such a system are well known. However, Soviet economic performance has been, on the whole, impressive, and if the standard model is correct, it is difficult to explain this fact. This paper proposes an alternative model of Soviet production, which emphasizes competition and exchange rather than command. It suggests that in the Soviet system and similar regimes, the Communist party acts as a vertical trust network which substitutes for a system of private property rights in making exchanges possible. This explains how the regime can function effectively. The regime also has one central flaw, which is that over time, horizontal trust tends to accumulate and to reduce efficiency. All bureaucracies face this problem, but the problem is particularly acute in Soviet-style systems, which possess no mechanism (such as general elections or the shifting of functions to the private sector) which would alleviate it. This explains the recurrent use of the party purge in these systems; it is the only way to restore the responsiveness of the bureaucracy to the wishes of the leadership.

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