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Labor discipline in the Soviet Union

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Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 02 Aug 2013, 21:07
How much of a problem was poor labor discipline in the Soviet Union? This old article by Donald Filtzer seems to indicate that it was a major problem:
http://libcom.org/history/labor-discipl ... on-filtzer.

Was there any way to fight poor labor discipline without introducing a fully capitalist labor market and abandoning full employment? Could industrial democracy and cooperative ownership as opposed to state ownership be a possible solution to the problem? What was labor discipline like in other socialist states?

I know I have a lot of questions, but this seems to be a major problem for socialism. Supporters of capitalism regularly argue that without the threat of the sack and the discipline of free labor markets, workers will become lazy. Some capitalists even argue that the post-war capitalist West was too accommodating to workers and this produced laziness and bad workmanship in industries such as automobiles in the United States. Do any comrades have good counter-arguments to these lines of argument?
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 03 Aug 2013, 04:15
Comparing the US to elsewhere, Japan and Germany are both better places to work, and they were the countries putting the hurt on the US auto industry (as well as the industry abandoning the US in general).

From people who've travelled in the USSR, it seems that different work places took different steps to ensure reasonable productivity, such as offering various incentives, or simply having better perks and thus attracting a better staff.
Soviet America is Free America!

Under communism, there is no freedom; you are not free to live in poverty, be homeless, to be without an education, to starve, or to be without a job
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Soviet cogitations: 172
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Feb 2012, 16:12
Ideology: Left Communism
Pioneer
Post 03 Aug 2013, 17:17
Piccolo wrote:
How much of a problem was poor labor discipline in the Soviet Union? This old article by Donald Filtzer seems to indicate that it was a major problem:
http://libcom.org/history/labor-discipl ... on-filtzer.


Extreme violations of labor discipline could be classified as diversion or wrecking: The very laziest might find themselves classed as antisocial elements and sent to rehabilitation through labor. Of course, the Soviet employment system employed incentives and rewards to attract staff and encourage productivity (perks, monetary bonuses, rewards).

As it's natural, the workers had a more secure position under socialism (as the State had the obligation to enforce the right to employment) and being sacked was rare, but that itself doesn't cause laziness. Labor discipline, all in all, was adequate. It did deteriorate when morale was eroded by consumer goods shortages (which reduced the use value of a worker's salary), late payment due to underfunding, and similar situations (the ages-old 'they pretend to pay us, we pretend to work'), but when employee morale was high Soviet industry was quite productive.
Cm'on baby, eat the rich!!! - Motörhead
Soviet cogitations: 216
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 27 Jul 2013, 05:04
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 04 Aug 2013, 21:08
Thank you for the informative replies. Do you think the threat of the sack is really integral to a well-functioning economy? It seems like the Soviets were able to adequately resolve the problem of labor discipline without resorting to the sack as it is known in capitalist societies
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