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USSR Defence burden

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 May 2009, 20:58
Pioneer
Post 25 Jan 2010, 00:05
What percentage of the Soviet Union's economy was devoted to defence in the 1980's? I've heard everything from 10% to 50%
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 25 Jan 2010, 00:26
Good question. You would have to refine the question in the first place. What includes defence? Militia? MVD? KGB? Border Guard service?
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 25 Jan 2010, 01:42
I don't have figures from a reputable source at the moment (I could find some in future). From almost every source on the matter that I've seen though there's a note that the USSR spent a lot to modernize in the 1970s and that in the 1980s defence spending declined once the modernization was complete. The rough figure I've come to carry with me for the military burden is around 15% -I recall there were news stories about Gorbachev making it public in the late 1980s.

The reason I mention the decline in spending (and the reason I remember it at all) is that it deflates, if not disproves, the idea that the Soviet Union's economy collapsed because 'they spent themselves into bankruptcy' -which makes the Soviet leadership sound stupid and Ronald Reagan's spending spree tactic seem correct and appropriate. While Reagan was increasing the US military budget Soviet military spending declined.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 25 Jan 2010, 01:48
What was the reason the USSR's economy declined?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 25 Jan 2010, 04:05
It didn't decline. GDP was actually still growing. There were structural problems with the system of distribution, as well as wide-spread social unrest.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 25 Jan 2010, 04:16
What kind of structural problems? It's a surprise to me that you're saying the USSR's economy wasn't in decline, I always assumed it was.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 25 Jan 2010, 05:10
Efficiency issues. Structural corruption. Lack of incentives for improvement. Sinecure.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Dec 2004, 23:53
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Philosophized
Post 25 Jan 2010, 05:16
Economic stagnation doesn't equal decline. Having trouble finding a good source.

GDP Wiki
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"By what standard of morality can the violence used by a slave to break his chains be considered the same as the violence of a slave master?" - Walter Rodney
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 25 Jan 2010, 05:34
Red Rebel's got aprox. the right picture. By the way, if we check the distribution of this alleged economic recovery, recently, we will find it focuses largely in resource export and service sectors. The manufacturing sector (including the MIC) never recovered. So the USSR was many times more capable of handling it's defence "burden" then the modern day FSU states.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Resident Soviet
Post 25 Jan 2010, 05:52
There's something about that graph that's never made sense to me -how the growth suddenly began to go up so quickly in the late 80s and then so quickly drop off in the early 90s. First of all, Perestroika threw a wrench in the system starting in early 1988. Secondly, the 1983 Andropov-1986 Gorbachev period had about 4% growth per annum (an improvement over the 2% growth during the late 70s-early 80s, which was considered 'stagnant'). These stats I picked up and amalgamated from a variety of books and articles because I was never able to find a single graph displaying growth in GDP or GNP in the 80s. So why does it show on that graph that from 1985-1989 the economy grew more than it did in the past 15 years prior.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 25 Jan 2010, 05:55
the rationing system gave a huge boost to demand that the factories had to fulfill, diminishing their capital resources? I mean by that point the factories were in control of their own finances and funds IIRC.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 25 Jan 2010, 20:01
Non progredi,est regredi
Motto of my school.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Jan 2010, 23:33
That's why I never trust GDP, in the Soviet Union, factories produce to meet their quotas, and the number incorporated into the GDP is the sum of the official prices of those goods, converted to US dollars at the official exchange rate. Those goods, as long as they are produced, contribute to GDP growth, they don't have to do anything in the economy, they don't have to satisfy any needs, nor do they have to produce other goods that satisfy needs. So basically, a lot of productions in the Soviet Union only serve two purposes, increase GDP, and expend resources to prevent future growth.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 26 Jan 2010, 01:14
Want to provide specific examples of unnecessary goods being produced? I agree that the prices, converted into dollars at the official exchange rate are meaningless, but I'd be interested to hear about useless things being produced. Especially in the defense sector.


EDIT: To be perfectly clear were sub par things ever produced? F*ck yes. Did parts not always fit right? F*ck yes. My grandfather worked at an avionics plant for his entire life, from assembly-line worker to chief engineer. I've heard plenty from him about faulty parts, and quality control issues. I've heard plenty about parts having to be jimmied to fit right, or outright modified to work with the parts from a different plant, but of completely useless things being produced? That's the kind of shit that gets you purged. Even in the 70s.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 26 Jan 2010, 01:21
Sugar, grains, meat, clothing, etc. Most of my clothes growing up my parents bought even before i was born because they were afraid htat there won't be any afterward. Same with rationed goods that they and all their neighbors had in over-abundance due to a lack of faith in the system - kilos of salt, sugar, macaroni, etc. Everyone lining up for meat just because they had a ticket for it, fearing that there won't be enough since they have to give out tickets for them. you know the deal. when small commerce was allowed it got even worse.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 26 Jan 2010, 01:26
That's different. That's not useless things being produced. That's people lining up to get what is being produced because there might not be enough.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
Embalmed
Post 26 Jan 2010, 02:16
Yeah, which caused more of those things to be produced for no good reason except that everyone would then have almost enough for a while if everything collapses and price controls are lifted, which is exactly what happened. Everyone stocking up on months' or years' worth of food and stuff is wasteful any way you put it though.
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 26 Jan 2010, 02:38
The point is that useless things weren't produced. Flatout useless things. That's what Kennedy was talking about.
banistansig1
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Feb 2005, 02:51
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Jan 2010, 04:18
Quote:
Want to provide specific examples of unnecessary goods being produced? I agree that the prices, converted into dollars at the official exchange rate are meaningless, but I'd be interested to hear about useless things being produced. Especially in the defence sector

==There are no specific cases of goods that are flatout useless been produced, except in the defence sector, I would say that over half of the weapons produced are a complete waste, as weapons do not improve living standards, nor produce any wealth themselves, unless they are either used to repel aggression, or to acquire new resources or markets. Since the Soviet Union wasn't actively pursuing the latter, it only needed sufficient conventional force to deter and repel invasions, and nuclear deterrent to prevent enemy's first strike. Contesting global hegemony and pursuing superpower status was a pointless waste of resources.

In the civilian sector, nothing flatout useless were been deliberately produced, However, due to the wastage and inefficiencies in industries, a large proportion of goods produced are not utilised, rendering their production a pointless waste. Consider:

Comparing to the US, to produce 1 rouble of GDP growth, the Soviet Union consumes 20% more electricity, 90% more steel, 100% more crude oil, and 80% more cement. Yhe effective utilisation rate of steel in industries is only 40-50%, comparing to the 80% in the west; up to 1/3 of goods such as coal, grains, and chemical fertilisers is lost during production, transportation, and storage.
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Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 26 Jan 2010, 06:19
Inefficiencies in the industry and distribution system. Absolutely. I don't think anyone disputes that. Waste in the defense sector depends on doctrine and political objectives. You disagree with those. But the production facilities themselves did not produce useless things. The things they produced were useful, just not to the USSR in the circumstances it found itself in with the political objectives that YOU consider correct. I'll give you that point. Your original statement however has no merit.
banistansig1
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