Eastern Europe: The Search for Quality

In the ruins of a tumbled-down medieval castle in Hungary, a group of explorers this fall unearthed a 500-year-old pair of shoes. Radio Budapest remarked sardonically that the shoes were in better shape than most of the footwear produced in present-day Hungary. That is not as funny as it might seem. The problem of shoddy goods, long the bane of Communist nations, is seriously hampering new efforts to increase trade with the West. Last week, in a drive to upgrade the quality of industrial products, East Germany sent 20,000 faithful party stalwarts across the country to inspect, inspect, inspect.

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