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If the American economy continues to grow at the present rate of about three-and-a-half per cent a year, the Soviets will probably catch up to the United States in the 1980's, Abram Bergson, professor of Economics, predicted at the Hillel Round Table of World Affairs yesterday.
Echoing his opinions expressed in a letter printed in the New York Times yesterday, Bergson criticized the optimism of political campaigners, which he believes is based on a misunderstanding of the facts. Because retarding and accelerating growth factors in the Russian economy will tend to cancel each other out in the future, Bergson predicted that the Soviet Union will continue to grow at its present rate of seven per cent a year.
Among the retarding economic forces facing the Soviet Union, Bergson listed the increasing cost of capital depreciation, the decline in available natural resources, and the labor shortages.
Offsetting these negative factors, however, will be the Soviet ability to control the rate of investment. Bergson indicated that the Russians will probably be able to raise investment rates while still satisfying some of the growing demand for consumption in the Soviet Union.
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