I don’t defend that it was all roses and rainbows economically but I am skeptical to the explanation of the USSRs collapse as being as crudely reducible to economic difficulties. It seems more definitely an issue of politics at the time. It wasn’t some economic collapse toppling the USSR. There were clear political actors to which one can contest motivations and pressures on their decisions but I just don’t think the economics was any more pressing than a lot of other economic crisis which have not lead to an overturning of their political and economic systems.
Economics had a lot to do with it. Western analysts did not predict the fall of the USSR. Because of that, they are still arguing why it fell.
And because of that, we've gone into great depth as to why it happened. I didn't find the article I was looking for. The one I did find is fine, but long. Just jump over the first part where they talk about getting it wrong.
The important bit is the economic analysis that shows how a gradual decline in a number of areas made the economy vulnerable to a shock. When oil prices collapsed, the economy started collapsing with it. America had had an economic collapse earlier; back in the Great Depression. It happens.
"The basic assumption here was that the absence of a market, or at least of market-like mechanisms, lay at the heart of the productivity problem; it followed that a solution would depend on economic decentralization. But would the Soviets be able make the transition?
The interesting thing here is that the Soviets analyzed the problem in much the same way U.S. economists did. The academician V.S. Nemchinov, most notably, had argued as early as 1964 that a far-reaching liberalization of the economy was needed if the productivity problem was to be solved — and indeed if the whole economic system was not to break down."https://tnsr.org/2018/02/assessing-soviet-economic-performance-cold-war/