Implementing Competition Policy in Communist Countries

by Barry Richman



The article focuses on the implementation of competition policy in communist countries. Marxist-type economies allocate resources and closely direct the economy through a comprehensive system of state planning, regulation, fixed prices, and controls. Profitability is not necessarily the paramount or even a high priority enterprise objective, and the interests of the state and its planners tend to take precedence over consumer choice. This type of economic system is found in countries that view themselves as being communist, socialist, or some mixture of the two. Public or state ownership of productive enterprises and non-human resources is usually associated with communist or socialist economies, while private ownership is associated with capitalist economies. However, a much more fundamental factor that distinguishes these two kinds of economic systems is whether comprehensive state planning or a competitive market price system is dominant in the functioning of the economy. In reality, there are no pure Marxist or capitalist economies. In both types of economies, however, the aim is to allocate and utilize resources in the most efficient ways.

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