Autarkic tendencies in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
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Autarky was an important part of the Soviet economic model which emerged in the early 1930s. After this model had been forced onto other Eastern European countries during the Szklarska Poręba Conference in 1947, the economy of the entire Eastern Bloc started showing strong autarkic tendencies. Surprisingly, they did not imply autarky within the Bloc as a whole, but within each communist country on its own. From a geopolitical point of view this was an irrational move. USSR would have profited more from satellite countries with economies complementary to its own, rather than just copies of its regime. Autarkic tenden- cies proved to be a constant feature of the Eastern Bloc, despite attempts at reforms. The pursuit of self-sufficiency in each country soon moved down all the way to the microeconomic level. While rational there, it proved disastrous macroeconomically and paved the way for the system’s subsequent demise.
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