The collection consists of four parts: Part I presents three non-technical essays on economic development and economic systems. Four out of five essays in Part II deal with the theory and measurement of the so-called Index of Total Factor Productivity for several countries. The fifth essay is on the theory of index numbers. The first essay of Part III compares the American and Soviet patterns of economic development and finds that the path followed by each country might have been optimal for it at the time. The second essay develops a general theory of a producer cooperative. The third essay discusses a method for avoiding monopolistic exploitation, under either system, without price control. Part IV presents three applications of economic theory to historical problems - in particular, to serfdom and slavery. The first, on 'The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom', has become a classic. The second challenges the widely accepted view that Russian serfdom had become unprofitable for the serf-owners before the Emancipation of 1861. The last shows that the oft-repeated estimate of the overcharge for land allotted to the former serfs by the Emancipation has little basis in fact.
List of tables and figures; Foreword; Acknowledgments; Part I. Economic Systems: 1. Reflections on economic development; 2. Poor old capitalism: a review article; 3. The blind men and the elephant: an essay on isms; Part II. Economic growth and productivity: 4. On the measurement of technological change; 5. On total productivity and all that: a review article; 6. Economic growth and productivity in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan in the post-war period (with S. M. Eddie, B. H. Herrick, P. M. Hohenberg, M. D. Intrilligator, and I. Miyamoto); 7. An index-number tournament; 8. On the measurement of comparative efficiency; Part III. Soviet Economics: 9. Special features of industrialization in planned economies: a comparison between the Soviet Union and the United States; 10. The Soviet collective farm as a producer cooperative; 11. On the optimal compensation of a socialist manager; Part IV. Slavery and Serfdom: 12. The causes of slavery or serfdom: a hypothesis; 13. On the profitability of Russian serfdom (with M. J. Machina); 14. Were Russian serfs overcharged for their land by the 1861 Emancipation? the history of one historical table; Index.