The Role of the Soviet Union in Metals Markets: A Case Study of Copper, Manganese and Chromite

  • Walter Labys


This chapter analyses the manoeuvrability of the Soviet Union in three strategic metals markets.1 The approach taken is to adopt a recently proposed framework which interrelates market conditions, price formation, and market structure and power so as to draw implications regarding the role of the Soviet Union in the future performance of these markets.2 The metals markets selected for analysis are those in which the Soviet Union can exert differing degrees of market power, from a lower degree for copper and a moderate degree for manganese to a higher degree for chromite. This chapter has been organised such that the above framework is applied to each of the metals in turn. The concluding emphasis in each section is on the form and extent of the commodity power that could be exercised: economic power which implies the maximization of economic benefits from trading, political power which implies a capacity to compel another country to modify its behaviour through its perception of what actions might take place, and strategic power which implies the strategic and economic impacts of actually executing the threat. In the final section comments are offered regarding problems posed by possible Soviet influences on the evaluation of both market structure and power.


Market Structure Commodity Market Uniform Price Price Formation CMEA Country 
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  1. 2.
    The framework for analysing market structure, power, and price formation in commodity markets can be found in W.C. Labys, Market Structure, Bargaining Power and Resource Price Formation (Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
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  6. 5.
    S. D. Strauss, “Mineral Self-Sufficiency: The Contrast Between the Soviet Union and the United States,” Mining Congress Journal (1979): 51.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
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    L. L. Fischman, World Mineral Trends and U.S. Supply Problems (Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future, 1981), p. 189.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    This analysis is based on W.C. Labys, “Role of State Trading in International Minerals Markets,” in M. M. Kostecki (ed.), State Trading in Market Economics (London: Macmillan Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    G.L. De Huff, “Manganese”, in Minerals Yearbook, 1979 (Washington, D.C.: US Bureau of Mines, 1979), p. 12.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© M. M. Kostecki 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Labys

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