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Demokratische und technokratische Wirtschaftsreformer in der DDR : die politischen Schicksale von Fritz Behrens und Wolfgang Berger
Democratic and technocratic comprehension of the economic reforms in the GDR : the examples of Behrens and Berger
Kurzfassung auf EnglischThe economic reforms in the German Democratic Republic during the 60s, known as "New Economic System" (NES) or "Economic System of Socialism" (ESS) have been characterised by historians as truly technocratic. What is often not known is the fact, that during the first debate on economic reform in Eastern Germany in 1954-1958 the idea of democratic reform was prominent thanks to the role and writing of the outstanding GAR economist Fritz Behrens, who favoured a diminished role of the state in the economy and the self-rule of the workers in the factories. Behrens and his followers were denounced by party leader Walter Ulbricht as "revisionist". Together with his economic advisor, Wolfgang Berger, originally a scholar of Behrens’, he started the NES and ESS in the 60s. Behrens remained barred from the management of the reform, in which Berger plaid a prominent role. When Behrens began again to publish his demands for a democratic reform in 1967, thus intervening in the progress of the reform, he was forced to leave his academic job into retirement. In 1971, Erich Honekker succeeded Ulbricht. The economic reform was stopped. And Berger lost his job, too.
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