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TRAC
Interview Transcript

Sergei Kapitsa   (cont)
Interviewer:  Well, this story is a window to cease.  .  .  

Mr.  K:  I must say, we were speaking nationwide on these matters.

Interviewer:  In other words, now both these stories, the Leontieff story and this Aganbegyan story, point up the fact that untold numbers of people knew what was happening to the economy, whereas the public picture was kept under control.

Mr.  K:  Well, to a certain extent, but, you see, again, we were speaking nationwide on these matters.

Interviewer:  Right.

Mr.  K:  The first program, not everyone was supposed to see.

Interviewer:  Because here's the one with Leontieff in the late seventies.

Mr.  K:  Yes.

Interviewer:  And hundreds of thousands, what millions?

Mr.  K:  Millions.

Interviewer:  Millions of people saw that program?

Mr.  K:  Yeah.  Both of them were seen by millions of people.

Interviewer:  Well, some first reflections on this bifurcation, this double type of a culture, let's call it--this goes all the way back, because Aganbegyan was starting to see things I suppose in the sixties.

Mr.  K:  Well, certainly, you see.

Interviewer:  Trying to tell Kosygin some of this.

Mr.  K:  Yes, Kosygin understood these things perfectly well, and I know that he was one of our greatest statesmen, in fact.

Interviewer:  Well, these two anecdotes of the interviews of Leontieff and Aganbegyan point to a dawning awareness that was outside the official public recognition, that the economy was not only not working; it seemed to be heading towards a decline.  First, how far back does this recognition go?  When did you become aware of this?  Could you tell us something about that?

Mr.  K:  Well, it's a very complicated issue, you see--the idea that the economy has to have strong evidence of State control, that is obvious.  You take the economy say of modern Europe -- America is not the best example.  Half of the major industries--like transportation, energy -- are nationalized.  That means they are state controlled.  Or they are controlled by such huge agglomerations of power and money that they really serve, like in Japan, they're called private, but really they are serving the public interest rather than private interests -- it's a matter of management rather than principle.  So the issue of state control  can be impersonated in many ways.

 What our economy was -- I think the worst part of it, was that it was a military economy.  I remember I had a conversation with Galbraith once.  I toured the United States, speaking to all the major economists; and that's another good story.  And one of my interviews was with Galbraith, who always equaled himself with the military economy of America during the war.  During the war, the American economy was highly centralized and controlled simply to carry out the military effort.  See, that is why Roosevelt could not  could not raise two billion to make the atom bomb without even telling his congress, and so on.  That is the way you can win a war.

 And Galbraith was one of the instruments of these economic policies.  But immediately after the war, this whole military establishment, government control of the economy was dismantled, and you came back to the free market economy, maybe even too free market economy.  But that's another problem.

   

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RAO > Catalogues > Transcripts > TRAC > Sergei Kapitsa p.10

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