This clear, comprehensive book examines the theoretical, ideological, and political aspects of the official Soviet approach to Third World economic development. Of particular interest is the analysis of the so-called theory of non-capitalist (NCD) path to socialism, which is studied both theoretically and empirically. The author traces the history of thought leading to successive versions of this theory and provides a persuasive critique of it. This history begins with Marx and Lenin, continues with Trotsky and the resolutions of the Comintern Congresses of the 1920s, and leads through the Stalin era to the influence of Soviet experiences with national and social movements in the Third World. The book ends with recent reassessments of the Soviet approach to Third World developments under Gorbachev and his co-thinkers. This definitive work is of value to all those interested in Soviet studies, Third World–especially Middle East–studies, and the study of Soviet-Third World relations in general.
The author challenges Soviet Third World experts by examining the substance of their theories and the relevance of their policies from a Marxist point of view. The claims of these experts are tested against the actual developments of Nasser’s Egypt, the most frequently cited case of non-capitalist development. The study of the case of Egypt focuses on the extensive nationalizations that were implemented under the Free Officers’ rule, the philosophy of those nationalizations, the character of state capitalist regimes and their tendency toward expanding the public sector, the differences between socialism and state capitalism, and the like.