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Were there viable alternatives in 1917 and 1929?

On 29 November, the DOC Research Institute hosted the Were there viable alternatives in 1917 and 1929? conference at Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Sponsored by the political science department, the conference discussed whether there were viable alternatives to two crucial events in Russian history: 1917’s October Revolution, and the 1929 rollback of the New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in 1921, which created a mixed market economy of small peasant farms, and an industrial sector comprised of large state enterprises, small cooperatives, and private firms.
The speakers, from Russia and Germany, explored what the alternatives to these events might have looked like, what lessons could be drawn from history, and how they might be incorporated into future policy decisions.
Vladimir Popov, research director for politics and economics at Berlin’s Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, opened the conference and discussed whether it would have been possible to avoid curtailing the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Popov contended that the NEP economy was extremely efficient. It looked very much like the Chinese economy in the 1980s, he argued, with large state-owned enterprises operating in the market, “with banking and transportation controlled directly by governments, and independent peasant farms of roughly equal size (after land reform) selling their produce on the open market.  And it grew at an average annual rate of close to 20% (1921-29).
If the NEP had not been curtailed, Popov explained, the Soviet Union could have developed even faster than it actually did with the command economy of the 1930s. However, only a command economy

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