Seven out of the nine Eastern European countries share a common feature—they belong to an economic bloc called CMEA, which stands for Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. It is also known in the West as COMECON. Yugoslavia and Albania are the exceptions. However since 1964, Yugoslavia has been an associate member which allows it to participate in 23 out of 33 key COMECON organizations.
For practical reasons, when I say Eastern Europe, I am speaking mainly about the seven COMECON countries, but I will refer from time to time to Yugoslavia. I will also use the terminology “East” and “West.” East refers to COMECON countries and West denotes the US and EEC (European Economic Community).
Significant differences are apparent between Eastern and Western markets.
The standard of living is lower in the East. Comparisons of family budgets are difficult because the East is a non-market economy, but one can obtain an impression by looking at per capita consumption of consumer products and the product line width in particular market segments. Table I shows the degree of penetration of a number of durable consumer goods.