More from Less: Ideological Gambling with the Unity of Economic and Social Policy in Honecker's GDR

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Abstract

In the numerous analyses of the economic failings of the German Democratic Republic, considerable attention and blame have attached to the extensive social policy program of Erich Honecker, leader of the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) after 1971. The “unity of economic and social policy” encompassed the GDR's entire political economy under Honecker. It was an attempt—a last-ditch attempt, as it transpired—to incentivize higher production, but also to fulfill the party's promise of higher living standards. In sum, the intention was to secure both the GDR's long-term economic viability and popular support via (modest) consumerism and an extensive program of social welfare measures. In so doing, the SED would prove the economic, social, and political theories that underpinned the whole ideology of “real existing socialism.”
Translated title of the contributionMore from Less: Ideological Gambling with the Unity of Economic and Social Policy in Honecker's GDR
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102 - 127
Number of pages26
JournalCentral European History
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • East Germany
  • history
  • communism
  • socialism
  • economics
  • planned economy
  • SED
  • GDR

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