• 00:01    |    
    Initial credits
  • 00:20    |    
  • 01:33    |    
    • Theoretical arguments
    • Empirical arguments
    • Reasons for the collapse of socialist planning institutions
      • Perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev
      • Systematic reform project in the Soviet Union
      • Historical possibilities for the Soviet Union
    • Transition dilemmas in post-communist countries
      • Romania
      • Bohemia
      • Poland
  • 11:51.5    |    
    Theoretical reasons for the collapse of central planning institutions
    • Impossibility of economic calculation, Ludwig von Mises
      • Objections to the theory
      • Soviet military industry
        • Market simulation devices
        • Primitive replication of market institutions
    • Disperse and incomplete knowledge, Friedrich A. Hayek
      • Complex and dynamic knowledge
      • Non-centralized information
    • The Logic of Liberty, Michael Polanyi
      • Tacit knowledge
      • Practical and embodied knowledge
      • Criticism to planned science
      • Consequences
        • Inexistence of central planned institutions
        • Parallel economies
        • Dysfunctional central planned institutions
  • 27:31    |    
    Historical remarks
    • Incoherence of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika
    • Destabilizing elements
      • Afghanistan War
      • Glasnost's consequences
        • Revelation of low standards of living
        • Awareness of environmental collapse
        • Apocalyptic environmental degradation
        • Revelation of the futility of the revolution
        • Demoralization of Soviet elites
        • Lack of readiness to reassert Soviet power
      • Nationalist movements in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
        • Economic and social situation of Eastern Germany
        • Illegitimacy of Soviet institutions in the Baltic states
        • Appearance of nationalist secessionist movements
  • 43:38    |    
    • Theoretical reasons for the failures of command economies
    • Conjunction of historical events
    • Fundamental errors of Mikhail Gorbachev
    • Difference between Soviet and Chinese socialism
  • 48:04    |    
    Final credits

Epistemological causes of the Soviet Union’s collapse

08 de agosto de 1994 | Vistas: 664 |

About this video

In this conference, Dr. John Gray explores the historical and theoretical causes behind the collapse of the Soviet Union's socialist system during the late 20th century. Based on the economic theories of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich A. Hayek, and Michael Polanyi, he concludes that central planning institutions cannot exist because economic calculation is impossible and knowledge is dispersed, dynamic, and tacit. Finally, a conjunction of historical events—including Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost, the Afghanistan War, and the rise of nationalist movements—brought about important reforms, like the fall of the Berlin Wall, that led to the collapse of the Soviet economic and social system.


Epistemological causes of the Soviet Union's collapse
Dr. John Gray

Universidad Francisco Marroquín
Guatemala, August 8th 1994

Digitization made by New Media - UFM. Guatemala, October 2008
Conversion: Mynor de León; index and synopsis: Christiaan Ketelaar; content revisers: Daphne Ortiz, Rebeca Zuñiga; publication: Mario Pivaral / Carlos Petz



Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín