09 Dec 2009, 14:36
I'm doing a paper on "the transition from a socialist planned economy to a capitalist market economy in the USSR".
There's quite a lot of information on this subject, both from sources inside the USSR and outside it. I found that a lot of information is being shrouded in propaganda, and therefore I was hoping some of you economic experts could help me out with a couple of questions. I've made a Main Question and a couple of Sub questions:
Transition of a Socialist (state-capitalist) centrally planned economy to a Capitalist market in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
How does this effect the National Economy in the USSR?
How did it affect the National Income in the USSR?
How did it affect balance of trade in the USSR?
How did it affect consumption in the USSR?
How did it affect the distribution of wealth in the USSR?
How did it affect government expenditure in the USSR?
Thank you very much in advance for helping me out.
09 Dec 2009, 18:52
Naturally I was going to bump into some problems with how I'm going to portray both different economies, like you said the planned economy was pretty much devastated and apparently the process of transition to a market economy took longer that I had thought. I think I will concentrate on the years 1985-1995, yet I do need to clarify that with Gorbachev coming to power things would majorly change. It would be great if you have some statistics from those years that show the results of the transition.
10 Dec 2009, 23:27
Wouldn't that mean the USSR would be in stagnation if it made no profit?
11 Dec 2009, 19:04
Sorry, I didn't mean for this thread to turn into a discussion about whether the USSR was state-capitalist or not, I just added that to kind of reflect how I feel about the USSR.
12 Dec 2009, 09:33
^All right then, the USSR was in my opinion State Capitalist because it used a wage system, production was controlled from above (instead of democratically from below) and it appropriated surplus value (one of Marx' criticisms of a Capitalist society).
12 Dec 2009, 16:23
Surplus value would also be appropriated in a socialist economy, as Marx made clear in his Critique of the Gotha Programme. What matters is how that appropriated surplus value is distributed. Marx's criticism of the capitalist system was (among other things) that the surplus value is socially produced but privately appropriated and distributed. He regarded this as the central internal contradiction of the capitalist mode of production.
In short, the Soviet system did not produce a 'profit' (ie, privately appropriated surplus value), but it did produce surplus value. If it hadn't, no expansion of the forces of production would have been possible.
By the way, the Soviet economy could have been described as 'state capitalist' in the 1920s (and Lenin did so describe it at the time), but after the abolition of the NEP and its replacement with Stalin's Five Year Plans, it became state socialist, and remained so until its dissolution in 1991.