Jeffrey Sachs explains why he thinks "shock therapy" was so tough in Russia : Planet Money In the early 90s, American economist Jeffrey Sachs was a part of a team that tried to transform Russia's economy. It did not go as planned. He tells us what he thinks went so wrong. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

The day Russia adopted the free market

The day Russia adopted the free market

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AFP via Getty Images
Photo by ANATOLY SAPRONENKOV / AFP (Photo by ANATOLY SAPRONENKOV/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty Images

In the early 1990s, there was this brief window of time when a new democratic government in Russia hoped to revolutionize the country. They wanted to build a new system, marked by freedom, democracy, and a vibrant, market economy. But, in the aftermath of the Soviet Union, Russia faced an economic crisis and a monumental challenge in leaping from communism to capitalism. Which is in part why they reached out to the American economist Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs offered a playbook, popularly known as "shock therapy." While his playbook seemed to have worked in Poland just two years before, the reforms in Russia did not go as planned. Almost immediately, a chorus began blaming "shock therapy" for Russia's rocky transition. But Sachs says what happened in Russia wasn't his playbook at all. Today, he joins the show and tells us his story. We get his view on what went so spectacularly wrong.

Music: "Arp & Piano Beat," "Meander" and "Concentric Circles"

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