Talk:Eastern Bloc economies

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Map of Eastern Bloc[edit]

The map contains several spelling errors and should be replaced.

Comparision of GDP figures[edit]

I think this has been discussed elsewhere: What is the point in giving the impression that the USSR's GDP was more than two times that of the CSSR or Hungary? Yaan (talk) 17:32, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Whoever wrote this obviously hasn't read Wikipedia:Neutral point of view This reads like a denounciation rather than a neutral encyclopedia article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the others that this article completely lacks neutral view and the GDP section deserves an edit. These figures are maybe true, however it refers only to individual paycheck, in the Eastern block the basic needs were cheap/free. Example:Where I worked we were given 2 free (1 cooked) meals a day-without limit, all you can eat, the healthcare was also free (excluding cosmetics and unnecessary treatments),education including colleges and universities were also state funded and students didn't have to pay. In 1980 on official trips I have visited USSR, France and Italy. The economic difference was very small


The Housing quality in the Eastern Bloc by the 1980s gives quite implausible figures. 60% of dwellings had piped water and 28% had an inside toilet in Bulgaria ? That is completely impossible. Not to mention, that the entire article is something that sounds pretty much like "damn, that really sucked",e.g., totally lacks neutrality. - ☣Tourbillon A ? 18:48, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

On your user page you have a user box stating that you despise democracy and love authoritarian rule. It's no wonder you don't like the deficiencies of the authoritarian and communist east bloc being elucidated. --MustaphaMond (talk) 02:42, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Maybe he just don't like lies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:28, 28 January 2012 (UTC)


This article contains one attack after another against the Soviet Union and communism. I'm pretty sure that not everything in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc was "crap", even if it was that most of the time. --TIAYN (talk) 19:33, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I see where you're coming from, but the article is very well cited from a plethora of sources. The article doesn't state that all manufactured goods made by communist countries were crap. --MustaphaMond (talk) 02:38, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes that is true, but the article has decided to skip over the "golden age" of communist economics, which was everything from the 1940s to the 1960s. The bulk of this article centers around collapse of the Communist World. --TIAYN (talk) 18:04, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree. This article almost looks like cold war anti-communist propaganda. It's a negative portrait, as if there was an agenda behind it, rather than neutrally trying to reflect the true image with all the different nuances - as an encyclopedia should do. That the information is well sourced isn't really relevant, when sources are used selectively to back up a persons opinion rather than the truth. It's ok to make a statement about things, but an encyclopedia is not the place to do it. (talk) 02:00, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
It is obviously biased, anything related to communism or alternative economic system is blatantly biased in Wikipedia. You only have to compare Eastern Bloc economies page with Economy of the United States. In the first case, the first image is a queue[1] and in the second case it shows skyscrappers[2]. emijrp (talk) 16:31, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Role of private sector[edit]

This article should have a section on the role of the private sector. Most of these countries had a certain degree of informal (not necesairly illegal) private enterprise. Some (particularly the GDR) tolerated a certain degree of more formal small business activity as well. While larger business operated both during the initial transition to a planned economy and in the latter days of peristroika. (talk) 12:48, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Complete rewrite needed[edit]

This article is factually incorrect with the GDP (PPP) figures, some claims have nothing to do with hard data (political ones) like claiming there were extreme inequality in USSR (which there was not,, according 2 GINI USSR was a relatively equal society - and this is only taking into account income) and it is in general negative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Agreed. The article is completely POV from beginning to end and reads like history as written by the Economist or other neoliberal sources. It should be neither pro-market nor pro-command, but neutral. At the moment, it most certainly is not. It's a shining example of the problems with the citation cutlure on Wikipedia, given the prevalence of neoliberalism amongst academic and journalistic sources. DublinDilettante (talk) 06:23, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I propose to administrators just delete whole article, becouse it's pretty much evident that sources used for this to say ...well..crap. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Biased, un-neutral and missing facts[edit]

This article completely jumps over many important periods of communist economics in the EB. Example, Socialist Bulgaria held a strong economic growth for years because of its low level of development before the communist takeover. Most countries, at first, benefitted from Soviet economics. East Germany, however, stands out since it held a positive growth rate until the end, and there were no signs of it ever declining. The Soviet economy held a positive growth rate in the 1960s and 1970s, and the Soviet living standard has never increased as fast as it did in that period. But no, is any of this mentioned? No! I can go on giving you more and more examples, but for some weird reason a user is removing my TAGS! --TIAYN (talk) 06:19, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, to be fair placing article level tags without articulating what the issues are on the talk page isn't exactly helpful. Not everyone sees things through your eyes, that's why there is a requirement to start a talk page discussion about the issues rather than doing drive-by tagging. Section level and inline tags are more useful and constructive, and of course there is the principle of WP:SOFIXIT. --Martin (talk) 09:52, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I'd be very careful as to supposed fast increases in standard of living. The idea that many of these countries held nominally positive GDP trend tells little about the standard of living in those countries (as measured, e.g. by rates of individual consumption). Also, it has been argued nowadays that even the Western sources tended to overestimate the Soviet GDP (at least as of 1980s). By the end of the 1980s, even the relatively wealthy East Germany had a GDP per capita 2-3 times below that of West Germany, though the initial conditions must have been more similar. Nevertheless, I agree that the article as it stands has many gaps. It is currently more of an overview of the (general) economic policies of the bloc.Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (t) 10:09, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Don't worry, I know that the Soviet economy, and Eastern Bloc economy as a whole was never able grow as fast as there capitalist counterparts. But the system wasn't a complete failure as this article is made out to be. And yes i agree that article is more or less of an overview of the general economic system of the EB, but it is an overview of mostly the badsides of the system. Example; the article mentions bad living standards, non-enough houses and no freedom (nothing to do with economics at all). For some weird reason, they skip over the non-unemployment part, everyone having free healthcare, free education and that until the 1960s or late 1950s (depends on which country) the economy of the EB was growing steadily not that far behind of the west.. This is not mentioned at all, instead the readers gets information on mostly the stagnation and to the collapse of the communist world, but very little in general about the period before.
The living standard of the average Soviet citizen increased from 1965-early 1970s; people got better payed and the production of consumer goods increased. Remember, all is relative, but the increase in living standard was much faster than before due to the Kosygin reform. --TIAYN (talk) 11:15, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Feel free to start a new article or section named "Eastern Bloc healthcare", I agree that it is a good subject that deserves to be in the article AadaamS (talk) 09:38, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I disagree that the article is an overview of the general economic policies of the bloc. It isn't even that. Much of it is full of random facts that seem carefully selected to paint the most negative possible picture of Eastern Bloc economies. For example, the section titled "Five Year Plans" does not actually describe what the Five Year Plans were or how they operated. Instead, it talks about a hospital in Warsaw in the 1980s, the plan targets of Bulgarian farms, broken light bulbs, "Lenin Saturdays", and stakhanovism (without explaining what it means). A lot of the article is like this - just random facts from various Eastern Bloc countries at random times. This is all very well sourced, but it misses the point. What the article needs to contain is information about (1) how the system worked, and (2) common economic policies - not random facts.

When broad trends are described, such as in the section on "lagging growth", they are very strongly biased. It is true that some Western sources (cited in this article) claim that economic growth in the Eastern Bloc lagged behind growth in the West. However, many others claim the exact opposite. All of them should be mentioned.

Oh, and it would also be nice to use some actual Soviet or Eastern Bloc sources in the article, too.

Basically, this article needs to be completely rewritten. But doing so would require extensive research. If no one else is able to take up the task, I think I'll have the time for it a couple of months from now. But I would really prefer not to be alone in this. -- Amerul (talk) 07:02, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

I wish you luck with that. It will be pretty big job becouse basicly everything here is written from few mostly western sources which don't realy don't know what they talking about. Personaly i doubt that without using eastern block sources there will be posible to write neutraly about eastern block economies...especialy critical part..becouse from what i see no westerner have any clue "what's wrong with communism" and they constantly point to wrong places. Regerding good thing about communism...that's even harder.Personaly i think good start for fixing this article will be....delete all except some raw data.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:43, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

From where you get this false data?[edit]

In this article it can be read that for instance in Yugoslavia 1981...only 33% of houses had piped water. Well, i lived at that time in Yugoslavia and number is more like 95%. Or this qoute

Poor housing was one of four factors leading to severely declining birth rates throughout the Eastern Bloc.[103] Homelessness was the most obvious effect of the housing shortage, though it was hard to define and measure in the Eastern Bloc ' What a crap is this?

Aniway...this whole article is totaly wrong and misleading. And probobly need to be rewritten by someone who know what it's talking about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:44, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Seems a "bit" biased.[edit]

  • A-to blame population lag solely on being in Eastern bloc but forgetting enormous deaths and loss in WW2 seems a bit manipulative. Remember that a large part of population also suffered various crippling injuries, diseases and harm that were a drain on healthcare system.
  • B-the same regarding economies. In several countries described infrastructure and industry was destroyed on purpose during WW2 and the countries had to start from scratch.
  • C-this is a bit hidden in the text, but even the rather biased POV can't hide that housing actually improved in places like Poland. Availability of housing today is worse than in pre-89 times.

All in all rather than showing a neutral view the article I think "tries" very hard to blame all deficiencies in these countries on their particular economic model. This isn't so black and white. Not only were they faced with circumstances earlier that were beyond their control, but in certain aspects it was better than today(housing, low unemployment and so on). --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 17:12, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I think for this you would have to get a bit more specific and get some data and sources. In a way "unemployment" is not really a meaningful concept in a command economy. I'm not so sure about "availability of housing" - the supply of housing of spaces has probably gone up with new construction etc. The price might have gone up too, do to increased demand and a real estate bubble - but that's a different phenomenon. As far as B goes - I'm pretty sure that the recovery in terms of physical capital was fairly rapid. After all, this was in fact one of the things that socialist economies were good at; high investment in heavy manufacturing. On the other hand you're probably right about the loss in human capital which took a lot longer to recover.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:23, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

the supply of housing of spaces has probably gone up with new construction etc. Actually, the number of housing has not gone up, but lower. Figures can be provided. Remember that Poland is not a utopian "free market" after 89, it has a lot of permits and regulations. And the lower availability of housing makes higher prices and income for select few developers possible(remember that housing in Poland is more expensive than in Germany for example)...So it is not really that black and white...--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 17:31, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

If you've got data and sources, I'm willing to be convinced.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:38, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Around 250.000 yearly under PRL[3], today 100.000 yearly [4]--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 19:47, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

See also page 13-14 in this presention[5]--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 19:57, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Conditions in the Eastern Bloc-proposed additions[edit]

It is striking that this entry doesn't mention the post-war conditions of places like Poland or SU and enormous loss of population-including highly skilled workers, engineers, scientists-all of which influenced economy. I suggest that population losses should be added to this entry, along with destruction of infrastructure inflicted by Nazi Germany during the war. --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 17:15, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Generally agreed. However, I don't think it would be fully correct to speak about "destruction of infrastructure inflicted by Nazi Germany during the war", because this destruction was a result of numerous factors, including Allied bombing, scorched earth tactics used by both sides, etc. IMO it would be more correct to speak about destruction as a result of the war unleashed by the Nazi Germany.
Regarding the population losses, the German program of systematic destruction of some social and ethnic groups in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, including ex-Polish territories annexed by the USSR, should be mentioned, provided that some sources exist that draw a connection between that and the post-war economic conditions, otherwise that would be a synthesis.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:45, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Another example of POV[edit]

In Poland, housing problems were caused by slow rates of construction, poor home quality (which was even more pronounced in villages), and a large black market And almost complete destruction of Poland's capital by Nazi Germany was not in any way a factor influencing the housing situation? --MyMoloboaccount (talk) 17:20, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Depends on the time period.Volunteer Marek (talk) 17:24, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Besides, the situation in East Germany might not have been much better. You take the case of Dresden for example.Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 18:04, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Sure.I wasn't only pointing at Poland.And yes East Germany experienced more destruction than the West. In general my point was that the article misses the effect of WW2, which had a larger influence on Eastern Europe than on Western Europe in terms of destruction of infrastructure, industry, and disappearance of human capital. Also many of these problems mentioned in the article were both present before communism came, and are still present over 20 years after it was gone, which would indicate that they had more to do with deeper structural problems. Housing, quality of it, corruption, inefficient administration, population flight to Western Europe etc.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 00:45, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
I would say, black market was a consequence, not a cause, and, taking into account that market (black or white) always plays a regulatory role, it is naturally to suggest that the existence of the black market was just a sign that the situation was not normal, and that some market mechanisms emerged spontaneously to compensate for a disbalance. In any event, it would be useful to see how the sources describe that. Can anybody provide the quotes from them?--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:48, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

In general this is definitely something that should be included. I'm pretty sure there are pretty good sources for the Soviet Union in this regard, maybe East Germany. For other Eastern Bloc countries, well, there isn't much economic history done there (and that's what it is). Even raw data is hard to come by (unsurprisingly, right after the war, collecting accurate statistics wasn't a top priority). From off the top of my head, based on what I read once long time ago here and there, and how these things usually worked in other wars, I'm pretty sure that what happened - as I already mentioned - was that the physical capital (buildings, factories, etc) recovered fairly quickly. Command economies in general, and these economies in particular, had pretty high investment rates. Human capital on the other hand is much harder to accumulate and replenish - and the murder by the Nazis of large number of people with any kind of post-primary education means that this was probably the biggest shortcoming (so, as negative as it sounds, the Nazis were somewhat successful in their stated goal of impoverishing these places through the extermination of the "elites"). Add on top of that slow technological growth under communism and that's pretty much the income gap we observe today.Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:41, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

To compare-over 20 years later[edit]

So Poland had 2,574,800 shortage of housing in 1986? How nice that thanks to reforms after 89 it now has 2-3 mln shortage of housing[6]. Oh wait... At least regarding the number of people per room we reached almost the level of East Germany from 1961, of course in 2011... By the late 1980s, Poland had an average 20 year wait time for housing, while Warsaw had between a 26 and 50 year wait time Cool. Should we compare to current data? Average monthly pension allows you to buy 0.3 meters of housing today[7]. That means you could buy a small 50 meter apartment after over 20 years. Of course If you don't buy anything else ;) Or you could take 50 years loan ;)

Poor housing was one of four factors leading to severely declining birth rates throughout the Eastern Bloc Can I be so mean and compare birth rates pre-89 and after 89?--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 19:39, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I would like to see a source that draws such a connection, because, as a rule, housing and birth rate are inversely correlated: the highest birth rates are typical for the countries with poor living (including housing) conditions, whereas in developed countries the birth rate is, as a rule, lower.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:00, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I think you're also mixing apples and oranges in your comparison of waiting times pre-1989 to how many meters an average monthly income can buy you. I think you're also drawing an unwarranted conclusion from those premises about how many years it takes to purchase a house. And of course both of these studies focus on the largest cities, which means they are looking at the places where housing is most expansive. I wouldn't be surprised if the average monthly pension in US could buy even less in, say, San Francisco or New York (not to mention some other places) - and that's in a much richer country.Volunteer Marek (talk) 18:34, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Oversimplification. US monthly pension is simply irrelevant, because of the availability of social programs and social apartments for seniors. More generally speaking, in current US, the most important factors is not the house price, but mortgage interest rate, homeowner taxes, etc. By contrast, in the Soviet bloc, mortgage institutions were essentially absent, and all apartment were effectively rental ones, although the price was purely symbolic, and everything was regulated by non-market means. In other words, any comparison is simply senseless.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:45, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
I was making a comparison between the present situation in former-Eastern-Bloc and present situation in US. Basically, housing prices are high world wide. As for comparing pre and post Soviet ones, I'm sure it can be done with the right conversions and annualizations (after all, when you buy a house, you're essentially renting it from yourself) but I'm not aware of any actual sources that do that kind of study off the top of my head.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:52, 28 April 2011 (UTC)
Also I think there's some confusion over the word "pension" in the above. I think Mymolo means just monthly income. Social programs and apartments for seniors are not the main factor here. In the US all three - house price, mortgage rate and tax rate matter. Taxes can explain some of the regional differences in housing/rental prices (in the South taxes are low and houses are cheap, vice versa in the North) but not all of it.Volunteer Marek (talk) 20:55, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

There is a sentence: Don't tickle sleeping dragon. Any serious comparation between house construction in let's say period 1969-1989 and 1989 - 2009 will only turn people to say "bring me back communism" :). Communism had it's weakness, but housing was not one of them.

Data for FPRY/SFRY[edit]

Data for Yugoslav economy are totaly incorrect. In 2003 Croatian GDP was equal to that from 1990 so the growth of 300 % from then to 2010 is not possible which is implied in this article (based on what is written). That would, for instance, imply growth rate of 6.5 % per year which, I think, was achieved only once during 20 years (not to mention two periods with high recession). In order to improve this article and article Economy of Croatia, I urge someone with the good knowledge of Serbocroatian and economy to consult this well-cited sources from Croatian scientists in economy: (talk) 13:25, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


So is anyone willing to devote some time to improving this article? First hand accounts of life in the Eastern Block would be interesting, I know I've got some. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexkvaskov (talkcontribs) 20:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Statistics in section Housing quality[edit]

I checked the source given in the article, and several of the numbers do not even appear in the book. Others are not from the 80s, as indicated in the title. Not only is it highly questionable to use one single source, which may very well be biased, using that source to make unsourced claims is completely unacceptable. The book used as source, Housing Policies in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, is freely available on Google Books. I propose the unsourced numbers to be removed immediately, and using other sources to check the numbers that are sourced, in order to make the article less factually inaccurate and biased. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Homelessness in easter block!!??[edit]

Homelessness was the most obvious effect of the housing shortage, though it was hard to define and measure in the Eastern Bloc.

Who wrote this shit??????

removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 00:46, 18 July 2013 (UTC)


I reverted today an IP's removal of GDP figures/tables. I think having even doubtable figures (in case sourced) is better than none. As for the comment, I agree that Maddison's figures at times seem eccentric, e.g. 1990 figure for Estonia 10,800$ if compared with 16,800$ he gives for Finland seems an exaggeration. Miacek and his crime-fighting dog (woof!) 18:34, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Image in the first section lacks NPOV[edit]

The dreary looking image of a cooking oil line in Romania as the first image one sees when reading this page is incredibly propagandistic. One might as well make the first image on the "Economy of the United States" page a homeless person. (talk) 19:51, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Eastern Bloc economies/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Re B, I started this, so I'm biased, but I think I can safely say that it's pretty easy for this article:

1. It's suitably referenced (almost every line has inline citations to major works)
2. It reasonably covers the topic - comprehensive coverage.
3. It has a defined structure - lead, topics and sub-topics
4. It's generally free from major grammatical errors, though it is changing

5. It contains appropriate supporting materials -> several maps, photos, tables, etc.Mosedschurte (talk) 12:33, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Last edited at 12:33, 28 March 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 14:01, 29 April 2016 (UTC)