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Subsidising the Academician

Alec Nove, 1 March 1984

Urban Inequalities under State Socialism 
by I. Szelenyi.
Oxford, 158 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 19 877175 4
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... This is a well-documented, thought-provoking monograph, much of it written when the author was still in Hungary, but reinforced by a fascinating introduction which makes the whole argument accessible to ‘bourgeois’ readers. Among the book’s many merits is its dry ironic humour. Szelenyi now lives in America, but, unlike some other émigrés, he has not swung from one extreme to the other ...

What would socialism be like?

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 March 1984

In the Tracks of Historical Materialism 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 112 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 86091 776 2
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The Dialectics of Disaster 
by Ronald Aronson.
Verso, 329 pp., £5.95, February 1984, 9780860910756
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Rethinking Socialism 
by Gavin Kitching.
Methuen, 178 pp., £3.95, October 1983, 0 416 35840 3
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The Economics of Feasible Socialism 
by Alec Nove.
Allen and Unwin, 244 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 04 335048 8
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The Labour Party in Crisis 
by Paul Whiteley.
Methuen, 253 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 416 33860 7
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... to introduce central planning. There was no other alternative to the market. Tretevo ne dano, as Alec Nove says Russians still say: ‘there is no third way.’ And for all its extraordinary achievements, this planning has not been a success. The difficulties are not now technical: the advent of computers and the techniques of linear programming make it ...

Russians and the Russian Past

John Barber, 9 November 1989

The Long Road to Freedom: Russia and Glasnost 
by Walter Laqueur.
Unwin Hyman, 325 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 04 440343 7
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Glasnost in Action: Cultural Renaissance in Russia 
by Alec Nove.
Unwin Hyman, 251 pp., £15, September 1989, 9780044453406
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Soviet History in the Gorbachev Revolution 
by R.W. Davies.
Macmillan, 232 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 49741 4
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Beyond Perestroika: The Future of Gorbachev’s USSR 
by Ernest Mandel, translated by Gus Fagan.
Verso, 214 pp., £34.95, May 1989, 9780860912231
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Perestroika in Perspective: The Design and Dilemmas of Soviet Reform 
by Padma Desai.
Tauris, 138 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 1 85043 141 8
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... the soviets,’ and whose leaders now talk openly about the desirability of a multi-party system. Alec Nove’s book, though covering similar topics, is much more of a report from the front line of glasnost. Instead of simply referring to the most notable manifestations of intellectual openness, he summarises their arguments, quotes liberally from ...

Andropov’s Turn

Philip Short, 19 May 1983

by Roy Medvedev, translated by Brian Pearce.
Blackwell, 292 pp., £9.50, November 1982, 0 631 12993 6
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Soviet Policy for the 1980s 
edited by Archie Brown and Michael Kaser.
Macmillan/St Antony’s College, Oxford, 282 pp., £20, December 1982, 0 333 33139 7
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... workforce, is a lack made all the more noticeable by the following chapter in which Professor Alec Nove does discuss just these questions, in relation to agriculture. ‘In my view,’ he writes, the basic principles of effective reform ... are those which underlie the relative success of Hungarian farming. Its essentials are the ...

Better to bend the stick too far

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The history of Russia, 4 February 1999

A History of 20th-Century Russia 
by Robert Service.
Allen Lane, 654 pp., £25, July 1998, 0 7139 9148 8
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... in the Cultural Revolution of the late Twenties just when their services were needed most? Alec Nove wrote, apropos the Bolsheviks’ decision to collectivise, that while a rabbi might have the choice between a cheese sandwich and a ham sandwich, this would not be a real choice for him. In other words, ideology counts – in this case, a genuinely ...

Is the Soviet Union over?

John Lloyd, 27 September 1990

Moving the Mountain: Inside the Perestroika Revolution 
by Abel Aganbegyan, translated by Helen Szamuely.
Bantam, 248 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 593 01818 4
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Gorbachev’s Struggle for Economic Reform: The Soviet Reform Process 
by Anders Aslund.
Pinter, 219 pp., £35, May 1989, 0 86187 008 5
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... times – a view which, at least until recently, was fashionable in all Soviet reform circles. Alec Nove, British Sovietology’s doyen, has noted that both Nikolai Petrakov, Gorbachev’s economic adviser, and Nikolai Shatalin, the sole reform economist in the Presidential Council, ‘repeatedly and openly attack the existing reform programme as too ...

The Crisis in Economic Theory

Jon Elster, 20 October 1983

An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change 
by Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter.
Harvard, 437 pp., £20, October 1982, 0 674 27227 7
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A General Theory of Exploitation and Class 
by John Roemer.
Harvard, 298 pp., £22, September 1982, 0 674 34440 5
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... acts between consenting adults’? Take the following, from a novel by Vasili Grossman, quoted by Alec Nove in The Economics of Feasible Socialism: I wanted since childhood to open a shop, so that any folk could come in and buy. Along with it would be a snack-bar, so that the customers could have a bit of roast meat, if they like, or a drink. I would ...

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