Common and Constrasting Features of the Reforms of the 1960s
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An optimistic mood bordering on a feeling of omnipotence prevailed in the leading circles of the Soviet bloc countries in the late 1950s. The great political tensions in 1956, generated by the riots in Poland and the uprising in Hungary, had abated; even the wounds in directly affected countries were slowly healing. Economic growth continued to be high and the standard of living registered some improvements (see Table 2.1). Fuelled by ambition and excessive optimistic hopes of rapid economic development, Khrushchev challenged the USA to a competition in the economic sphere; he promised to overtake the USA in output per capita in 15–20 years. For this and other reasons the USSR embarked on an ambitious seven-year plan in 1959; its purpose was to ‘achieve a leap in the construction of the material-technical basis of communism and ensure victory to the USSR in a peaceful economic competition with capitalist countries’. This was to be reached through the preferential growth of heavy industry equipped with new technology (Istoriia …, 1980, vol. VI, p. 229). Needless to say, East European countries rushed to the help of the USSR. They embarked on a new investment drive in 1959, and the new five-year plans for 1961–65 were designed in the spirit of the new effort.
KeywordsForeign Trade Economic Reform Investment Project Wage Differential Small Country
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