In the postwar
period, the leading industrialized countries of the West entered the
era of scientific and technical revolution. This set the scene for
rapid transition to a new, postindustrial stage of development. As
the technological revolution advanced, it was becoming more and more
obvious that certain inherent characteristics of the Soviet economic
model stood in the way of technological progress and that in spite
of the fact that the country was a world leader in many fields of
science, including space exploration and civilian and military uses
of nuclear power.
was that the latest scientific and technological achievements were
slow to enter into production on a nationwide scale, with the
exception of the military-industrial complex. Overcentralization,
the absence of competition, and a lack of self-interest, motivation,
and material incentives at all levels of the economy were the main
impediments to technological progress.
Soviet planners needed to find ways of making the Soviet economic
system more attentive to consumers. The life of Soviet consumers was
plagued by endemic shortages of consumer goods, overcrowded housing
conditions, and primitive consumer services. To continue to ignore
consumers’ needs was becoming more and more dangerous politically.