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However, this is not done in practice, and even if the over-alllevel of excess demand for consumer goods is zero (a controversial assumption in any case), there is certainly positive excess demand for individual products. Over the past twenty-five years or more the general level of retail prices in centrally planned economies has remained stable. Some Western economists assert that this stability of the price index has to some extent been the result of statistical manipulation, and has in any case disguised a situation of repressed inflation.

336-7). Knowing matrix [A] we can calculate the harmful consequences of approximations of this kind by computing the ratio of approximating matrix [I+ A + A 2 +A 3 ] to the full matrix [I- A] -I. The smaller the ratio, the greater the inconsistency in the plan is likely to be. Such ratios have been calculated for the Soviet Union by Gillula (1977, pp. 76-7}, who uses a reconstructed ninety-sixsector 1966 input-output table. 6 to 72 per cent). 8 per cent). 7 per cent). The figures suggest that to truncate calculations showing the impact of one sector on others can lead to substantial planning errors.

More fundamental change would probably have required rather looser plans based on somewhat less ambitious growth targets. The profit indicators were seen as synthetic indicators which combined the effects of sales efforts and cost reductions into a single indicator which could be compared between enterprises. Naturally, the effects of these new indicators on enterprise behaviour depend on the manner in which they affect enterprise incomes and the extent to which enterprises are permitted to respond flexibly to them.

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