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Michael Lebowitz  wrote

Impossible not to respond to Andrew Stewart's query: "Does anyone have a decent, understandable brief that explains the operation of the Soviet economy at its best moment (what that is probably is going tobe a whole other debate)?"

Here was my entry: "Contradictions of 'Real Socialism': the Conductor and the Conducted", published by Monthly Review Press in 2012 (with a Cuban edition in 2015 and revised Spanish translations forthcoming in Chile, Ecuador and Spain) and reviewed nicely by Louis at http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/03/the-contradictions-of-real-socialism/


Walter Daum wrote

I offer a chapter of my book, The Life and Death of Stalinism, published in 1990:


Since then Soviet archives have been opened to scholars, and I believe that the broad ideas in this chapter are illustrated in, for example, the book The Political Economy of Stalinism by Paul R. Gregory, which might be available online. t.

I have recently read Michael's fine book and just finished reading Walter Daum's, both for an online discussion group, and I found both enlightening, informative and helpful. Michael's book is the more recent (2012?), containing much food for thought - lessons to be learned, as has been true of all of his books. Walter's was written in the period from 1985-1989 and therefore is kind of prescient. It's exhaustively researched and closely reasoned on the principles of Marxism and on the topic of the rise and fall of Stalinism and the breakup of the Soviet Union. So readem both; they offer somewhat differing views, both worth considering. Walter's is even online yet, and Michael's is very accessible in paperback.

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