Economic Knowledge in Socialism
Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 12:30 PM - 2:15 PM
- Chair: Gerard Roland, University of California-Berkeley
Shestidesyatniki Economics, the Idea of Convergence, and Perestroika
AbstractThe paper analyses the reception of the idea of convergence in Soviet economics from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s. It is predominantly concerned with convergence theory as a policy idea that inspired perestroika. The paper is related to the literature on ideas and institutional change as pioneered by Peter A. Hall and Mark Blyth. Its central question is: How could, under the conditions of an authoritarian regime, an imported policy idea that bluntly contradicted official ideology, reach a degree of dissemination and (among a specific stratum of the elite) popularity that would later turn it into a central pillar of reform policy? An important finding is that the idea of convergence united the Soviet “people of the sixties” and some Western “progressive” intellectuals who together formed a transregional epistemic community that only for a short period of time, at the end of the 1980s, gained some political influence.
The Growth and Marcescence of the ‘System of the Optimal Functioning of the Economy’
AbstractThis contribution discusses the hopes about the use of mathematical economics to improve the planning and functioning of the Soviet economy following the opening of the Economics-Mathematical Laboratory at MGU in 1962 and the founding of ЦЭМИ (Central Economic-Mathematical Institute) in the Academy of Sciences shortly thereafter. The opening of these institutions provided an incubator for dozens of monographs on 'improving' (совершенствование) planning and the functioning of the Socialist economy, and in the elaboration of a "System of the Optimal Functioning of the Economy (СОФЭ)" which, despite substantial state funding, never got traction in the planning or administrative organs managing the economy.
Economic Knowledge outside Cold War Boxes: Banking, Structural Adjustment, and Globalization as Socialist Projects
AbstractThis paper is an inquiry into the emergence of global or transnational banking through new Yugoslav and non-aligned banks opened in the 1970s. These banks were formed to realize non-aligned ideology and economic expertise developed in various international governmental organizations, such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and laid out in the New International Economic Order. These banks also developed new economic and financial knowledge over time. I specifically compare the banking practices and ideas of 1) the Yugoslav Bank for International Economic Cooperation, 2) Ljubljanska Banka with offices worldwide, and 3) the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI), a non-aligned bank started in Pakistan (at its height, BCCI had 400 branches in 78 countries). I will talk about how they became uniquely global banks, how they realized socialist and non-aligned ideologies, how they functioned during the 1980s debt crisis, and what happened to them after 1989. After 1989, Ljubljanska Banka left behind its global or transnational structure and took non-Slovenian clients’ savings without compensation. The Yugoslav Bank for International Economic Cooperation was put on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. The US and the UK shut down BCCI for corruption in 1991.
University of California-Berkeley
- B2 - History of Economic Thought since 1925
- B3 - History of Economic Thought: Individuals