By Gérard Roland (eds.)
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Extra info for Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View
Also, the USSR was among the fastest countries in introducing television broadcasting, since it was a highly centralized medium in the ﬁrst period, concentrated in a single or only a few studios, and subject to the tough political control of the party. Also, the programme of the radio stations could be easily controlled, and transmitted through loudspeakers even to remote villages. Radio and television were supported by the communist regime as long as tough central control was feasible. Luckily, as the integrated circuit (IC) technology developed further, complete centralization and censorship became technically impossible.
As a result, the application of revolutionarily signiﬁcant innovations are more or less excluded, since those always mean a leap into the dark, as success is necessarily unpredictable. As far as followers are concerned, some economies follow up quickly, others slowly. The socialist economies belong to the group characterized by the slowest pace. They prefer to maintain the familiar old production procedures and produce the old, well-tried products—new technologies and new products have too many uncertain characteristics, making planning difﬁcult.
Kazakhstan experienced an evolution similar to that of Russia, with private interests capturing the reform process. Its decline in the 1990s was at least as bad. Uzbekistan was also a timid reformer, protecting its cotton industry and keeping strong foreign exchange controls until at least 2003. Tajikistan had a civil war until 1997. Overall, Pomfret argues, endowments play a bigger role in the fate of Central Asian economies than reforms. Uzbekistan beneﬁted from good cotton prices in the early 1990s.