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"Planning a Socialist Economy" (two-vol Soviet work, 1977)

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Soviet cogitations: 729
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 16 Nov 2016, 05:08
* https://archive.org/details/PlanningSocialistEcon1

* https://archive.org/details/PlanningSocialistEcon2

The first volume was scanned by someone I know; the second volume by me.
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Soviet cogitations: 805
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 17 Nov 2016, 02:20
I'm glad you were able to get both volumes. Vol II seems to be more on the technical side about how planning actually gets done. Lots of equations. I've been studying Soviet planning more recently, and there aren't many good books online on the topic. As a Hoover Institution critic of Communism admitted, the Soviet planned economy was the most complex system ever devised by man, and far more long-lasting than Hayek could have predicted.

I've been reading some ME Sharpe translations of Soviet journal articles. And to put it in Kuhnian terms, the book from 1982 is a classic work of economic "normal science". Very abstract, complex, mathematical models that its hard for me as a layreader to understand. While the works from the late 1980s and early 1990s are works of "revolutionary science" on the fundamentals of the economy, that can fluctuate from philosophical to newspaper editorials. So for me it was a striking example of the difference between Kuhnian normal and revolutionary sciences in the field of social science.

1977 could be called "High Brezhnevism" the period of Developed Socialism and the new Soviet Constitution. So this work very much is the Soviet planned economy. And as Communism is ultimately an economic system, in a sense you can say this book IS Soviet Developed Socialism.

Just skimming over the pdf, it has some input-ouput tables that explain the how tos of socialist planning. I remember years ago on S-E I posted this chart from DirectDemocracy4u WE WILL INCREASE PRODUCTION. And someone was complaining it was almost like a parody, boring, and not explaining how a planned economy actually works. These books OTOH are a manual for the planned economy.
Kamran Heiss
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Soviet cogitations: 4445
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 17 Nov 2016, 22:19
Quote:
As a Hoover Institution critic of Communism admitted, the Soviet planned economy was the most complex system ever devised by man, and far more long-lasting than Hayek could have predicted.


The saddest thing about this is it would have continued to last, and to take advantage of the benefits of the information revolution. Paul Cockshott has written about how the Soviets basically rejected planning right at the moment when computing power was getting significant enough, and computers small enough, to make the billions and billions of calculations necessary to run the economy efficiently.

At the same time, the system's immense complexity did contribute to its downfall, in the sense that when the reformers began undermining planning, even a little, and introducing market reforms, it began a snowball effect of aberrations growing into destabilization which led to the images of the now world-famous bare shelves and angry shoppers presented as the norm in mainstream journalism and historiography.
"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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Soviet cogitations: 805
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 17 Nov 2016, 23:39
Yeah I have a ME Sharpe collection of papers from Soviet economic journals during the Perestroika period 1985-1991. Amazing how rapidly the ideology moved from the orthodox Marxism-Leninism of the Chernenko period to Milton Friedman neoliberalism in as little as 2 years. It was even Chernenko after all who restored Molotov to party membership, a joke being to prepare him as his successor.

I've been going through the Workers World Party and Sam Marcy's articles from the period are an interesting 1st hand account.

http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/sampere/index.htm
http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/index1.htm

He refers to the works of some of these pro-market Soviet economists which were republished in the NY Times.

For example this was one of the economists from the translations and also cited by Sam Marcy, and she was publishing market fundamentalist articles in Soviet journals as early as 1987, only 2 years after Chernenko. Even saying that Western European Social Democracy doesn't work and only pure capitalism.

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/11/28/world ... -sell.html

http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/sampere/perehtml/3.htm

With all the mountains of books that have been published about the planned economy both pro and con, there is remarkably little explaining how a soviet enterprise works at the nitty gritty level. What is the process of assigning resources and how do finished products reach consumers? I hope I can learn more about it, from this book.
Kamran Heiss
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Soviet cogitations: 805
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 24 Nov 2016, 04:24
An interesting 1977 Soviet book supplement to this is Ussr State Industry During the Transition Period which explains the historical process by which the state socialist planned economy was 1st created. The nationalizations of 1918 were the largest expropriations in history, greater than that in the people's democracies of the 1940s, and including much foreign property. As dialectical materialists we see that to understand a thing is to see its historical process and evolution. I've studied this period from the perspective of the New Left with Charles Bettelheim as well as from the Hoover Institution perspective. So its informative to read about it from the Soviets themselves. Its exciting to see where the Soviet planned economy actually came for, as it was largely a new innovation as Marx and Engels had only sketched out socialist economics. I do see a planned economy as a necessary ultimate conclusion of egalitarianism. The romantic revolutionary democrats of the 19th century wanted to dispossess the rich but had no blueprint for what came after other than small-holderism. But if you do put the means of production in the hands of the workers; then that ultimately must mean a centrally planned economy as guided by the workers' democracy in the form of a democratic centralist state.

On a sidenote I find it interesting that after the "personality cult" of Stalin; Soviet history went in almost the polar opposite direction of having the USSR seem leaderless from Lenin to Brezhnev. With Stalin and Khrushchev both discredited it was just the faceless Party. Of course both are mentioned where historically necessary. But its the Soviet state, party and workers as the drivers of history, with the leaders taking a back seat. Which perhaps does fit with Marxism. But its interesting how Soviet history largely agrees with the policy-decisions and positions of the Stalin-Khrushchev period and yet Stalin and Khrushchev are largely removed from the scene and remembered for their errors.

https://web.archive.org/web/20110426213 ... /index.txt
Kamran Heiss
Soviet cogitations: 729
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 05 Dec 2016, 04:15
heiss93 wrote:
On a sidenote I find it interesting that after the "personality cult" of Stalin; Soviet history went in almost the polar opposite direction of having the USSR seem leaderless from Lenin to Brezhnev. With Stalin and Khrushchev both discredited it was just the faceless Party. Of course both are mentioned where historically necessary. But its the Soviet state, party and workers as the drivers of history, with the leaders taking a back seat. Which perhaps does fit with Marxism. But its interesting how Soviet history largely agrees with the policy-decisions and positions of the Stalin-Khrushchev period and yet Stalin and Khrushchev are largely removed from the scene and remembered for their errors.
Yeah I've scanned Soviet histories of the USSR written in the 1970s and 80s, Stalin is barely mentioned. The most attention he receives is related to the Great Patriotic War and the conferences at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam, where it was conceded (unlike in the Khrushchev era) that he was a capable military leader, albeit not infallible.

Stalin led the Communist Party in the "heroic" period of Soviet history, connected with the First and Second Five-Year Plans and the war against Nazism. Khrushchev didn't have that benefit, so Soviet historians could more or less totally ignore him.
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