Comecon: The Rise and Fall of an International Socialist Organization

Comecon, or the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, was founded by Joseph Stalin in 1949 to counteract the Marshall Plan and reinforce the bonds between the Soviet Union and the people's democracies of Eastern Europe. Other Soviet Bloc nations later joined Comecon, and for forty years it dominated the trade policies of the Soviet Bloc and profoundly influenced their domestic economic development and relations with the West. Comecon collapsed in 1991 after the countries of Eastern Europe rejected communism. It was often compared with the (West European) Common Market, but differed vastly in its aims, structure, powers, and activities. Its influence is a critical factor in assessing both the economic failures of the Soviet Bloc and the problems facing former member states as they make the transition to free-market economies. This detailed, annotated bibliography is an essential guide to the extensive English-language literature about Comecon from its founding until its demise. Chapters cover Comecon's history, structure, and law; socialist economic integration; the organization's arrangements for international trade and finance; environment, natural resources, and energy; labor; industry and agriculture; science and technology. Comecon, like the rest of the Soviet Bloc, collapsed suddenly, but its legacy will color international relations and worldwide economic issues for years to come. An understanding of its institutions, mechanisms, and policies remains vital hi appreciating the economic organization of the former Soviet empire. This bibliography will therefore be indispensable to policymakers, economists, historians, and political scientists.