Communism Too Far, Too Fast?

Reform's price: a Moscow shake-up and a Beijing slowdown

The dialogue might have been taken from a sketch titled "The Case of the Frustrated Carnivore." In a blunt exchange of views with officials of a Siberian research institute in late September, Mikhail Gorbachev scoffed at statistics claiming that a typical resident of the city of Krasnoyarsk eats 156 lbs. of meat a year. Chronic shortages, Gorbachev implied, make that figure wholly unbelievable. On the other hand, he went on, anyone who travels to China reports that meat is "always in the shops, unsold."

But China too faces serious problems with its economic-reform program, despite such bright spots as a plentiful...

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