COMPUTERS: Great Bleep Forward

Computers, said an official Soviet encyclopedia in 1955, are part of a "capitalist ploy used for increasing the exploitation of the working class by creating artificial redundancy and also loosening the revolutionary tie between the worker and the means of production." Times have changed. The Soviet Union is now rushing to wire its economy up to the computer, and the great bleep forward could open up enormous trade opportunities for Western computer firms.

The current five-year plan calls for investing more than $4 billion in computer technology−six times the amount in the last...

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