Economy: Why It Still Doesn't Work

Free enterprise is stalled in the clash between reform and reaction.

Cumbersome, inefficient and corrupt, the Soviet economy functioned, such as it did, because it had its own internal logic. Moscow decreed the production of every tank, shoe and potato; every working-age person was supposed to have a job; and prices were stable. If the end result was not exactly according to plan -- a long-drawn-out failure, in fact -- at least the command system offered a coherent vision of what the plan was.

No such coherence or vision applies to the new Russian economy. Since Boris Yeltsin began shock treatment last January, the result has been a bundle of contradictions. In...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!