This lecture was given as the Henry George Lecture at St. John's University on October 27, 1998. Since 1992, the rhetoric of Russian economic reformers has been one of full-speed ahead to a free-market economy. The reality, however, has diverged significantly from this rhetoric at both a broad “rules of the game” level and specific “policy within rules” level. The resulting ambiguity of the economic environment and the lingering effects of the previous system which is supposed to be reformed has led to a continued deterioration of the Russian economy. This paper offers a modified defense of “shock therapy” as a path to a cure for Russia's economic malaise, as opposed to the cure itself.
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