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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 15:59
In another thread, Kirvo once said that the 50's and 60's were the USSR's finest period because it was at its highest level of development while still producing goods according to social demand instead of profit. So, when and how exactly did this change? What kinds of repercussions did it have? Did it increase or decrease economic performance?
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:29
Wouldn't it be more appropriate to PM Kirov?
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Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:30
Other people might know the answer as well.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:34
this could help http://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/ ... reform.htm

there is a really long and descriptive russian [url=http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Экономическая_реформа_1965_года]wikipedia article[/url]on this with a lot of useful charts and citations but i don't think it's been translated
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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.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:43
In your opinion, Kirov, was the USSR prior to this reform state-capitalist?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:47
No, the goals and means through which these goals were achieved were completely different from those in a capitalist or state-capitalist economy.
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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.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 22:50
Can you elaborate? If things need to be run with the goal of making profit for the state, and not simply meeting social demand, how is it not state capitalist?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
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Post 19 Feb 2010, 23:01
Things were run to maximize production in the core spheres (coal, steel, oil) and in the secondary spheres (tractors, trucks, trains, machinery). However, the top-down approach was not as effective for tertiary sphere of consumer goods. The goal however, was to produce maximum amounts of capital goods, value-added, not to make a profit. Wages were usually negotiated with unions and strikes did occur until the purges.

Post-1965 the basis of an industry's success however was purely the profit it generated. Industries were therefore subsidized or taxed while pre-1965 they were mainly loaned funds while taxes came from payrolls, exports, and excises.
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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: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 21 Feb 2010, 14:49
Quote:
there is a really long and descriptive russian [url=http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Экономическая_реформа_1965_года]wikipedia article[/url]on this with a lot of useful charts and citations but i don't think it's been translated


Reading this through Google Translate hurts my eyes. But still, thanks a lot!

Would you agree that this was a first step leading to the collapse of socialism? Production for profit was meant to be abolished in socialism, after all.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
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Post 21 Feb 2010, 18:57
You don't learn Russian in Germany anymore,right?
Can you choose it as an optional foreign language?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 21 Feb 2010, 19:05
In the West, learning Russian was never wide-spread. It was required in the East, though, and many schools have continued teaching it. Since I live in the west, though, there is no option for me to learn Russian at school.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 13 May 2010, 11:19
I would like to challenge the conclusions that Mabool seems to have reached as to the effects of the Kosygin reforms on the USSR's development and on its status as a socialist country (which he has been spreading throughout the forums). Firstly, they were not successful, and most of the proposals were eventually reverted by entrenched bureaucratic interests. This is mentioned in the Russian wiki article Kirov linked to. Secondly, using profit as an economic indicator does not necessarily mean moving away from socialism, and in fact profitibility had been an indicator, lower down in a set comprising several, even prior to the reforms. Here are a couple of relevant excerpts from some articles on the subject giving more details:

Quote:
Although economic stagnation was pronounced by the time Gorbachev became party chief in 1985, the sluggishness of the Soviet Union's command economy was evident two decades earlier amid calls for reform. Following Khrushchev's ouster in 1964, however, the reform movement high up party ranks was perhaps weakened by the growing power of the ministries and collective leadership. As the political atmosphere gradually moved toward becoming more relaxed since de-Stalinization, a pattern of collective leadership emerged that reconciled the interests of many different bureaucracies and interest groups. In contrast to the system of delegated power in the post-Communist years, Soviet politics under Brezhnev was generally based on informal personal influence that a cadre accumulated over some particular institutions and compromise between committee members.

Known as "bureaucratic pluralism" by Western Sovietologists, this dyanamic of politics has been used to explain the aborted Kosygin Reforms of 1965, which called for giving industrial enterprises more control over their own production-mix, some flexibility over wages, and allowed them to put a proportion of profit into their own funds. Since these reforms suggested a move away from detailed central planning and control from above, the planning ministries, whose numbers were proliferating rapidly, fought back and protected their old powers. This was not a difficult task since the Brezhnev/Kosygin collective leadership lacked the strength to counter their influence (the ministries, after all, controlled supplies and rewarded performance) in order to implement the reforms. The ministries curtailed them by just issuing more detailed instructions that retarded the reforms, impeding the freedom of action of the enterprises. Nor did these economic reforms, aimed at increasing productivity by pushing aside surplus labor, necessarily appeal to workers. The constituency that stood to gain the most from the reforms was the enterprise management, but they weren't enthusiastic either since they weren't convinced that these reforms might last. Finally, by 1968 there was the unfortunate example of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, which put the brakes on the momentum for economic and political reform. In contrast, the military sector continued to be the success story.

Due to continued growth rates, some Sovietologists have argued that the ACS system had not yet exhausted its capacity for growth by the late 1960s since it was still sustaining higher rates of growth than the Western powers. In light of this, it has been argued that the Kosygin Reforms of 1965 could have been implemented at just the right time to save the Soviet Union and spare the population of the hardships of the past twenty years. By the Gorbachev era (1985-1991), in contrast, a decade of stagnation, declining productivity, and systemic problems down to the factory level might have been insurmountable. Perhaps the problem with the Kosygin/Brezhnev collective leadership was not too much power concentrated in their hands, but not enough. Forces like the ministries and the military won out, pushing the Soviet Union in a less prudent direction.


http://www.fact-index.com/e/ec/economy_of_the_soviet_union.html#Calls%20for%20Reform

...

Quote:
In September 1965, Kosygin announced a comprehensive planning reform that implemented some of the ideas of the Kharkov economist Yevsey Liberman and many other industrial economists who had urged relying on the profit indicator instead of detailed and numerous directives, which often conflicted with each other. Profitability had for some time been one of the indicators of plan fulfillment, though the main indicator was still gross output (valovaya produktsia, or val for short), as compared with planned levels. Now the directives would be seven in number, with profitability on capital (at controlled prices, not market ones) - or sales, for consumer goods firms - to constitute the main bonus-forming indicator. Instead of four standard indicators for use of labor, there would be only one: the wage fund.

Other obligatory tasks were to be sales (realizatsiya), assortment, payments to the budget, centralized investments, new techniques to be introduced, and mandatory supply tasks. The infamous val would be abandoned, along with the cost reduction target, both of which jeopardized quality of production. Depending on the enterprise's success in increasing sales and the profit rate - and subject to fulfillment of the other tasks in plan - retained profits would go to new investments, social facilities and housing, and extra worker bonuses. This provision was intended to enhance material incentives for those engaged at the enterprise. Though differentiated and quite complicated, these norms were supposed to be stable. After paying a new capital charge of 6 percent, more than half of net profits usually went to the state, however, not to enterprise funds. New enterprise whole prices would be announced by 1967 but still based on costs, not market scarcity. This would permit the end to subsidies for loss-making enterprises.

One advantage of the sovnarkhozy system was retained: The regional inter-industrial supply depots were preserved under the State Committee on Material Supplies (Gossnsab). Wholesale trade was thereby to be expanded. Several other state committees were also established for price setting and for science and technology. Concern for technological change was also reflected in the creation of science-production associations, intended to make a better connection between research, technology, and the introduction of new goods.

No sooner were these reforms implemented than significant modifications had to be introduced to regulate the size and distribution of enterprise funds. New targets were added for consumer goods and quality; later in the 1970s, labor productivity, gross output, and other targets returned to the mandatory list. Supply problems persisted; little wholesale trade occurred.

Most specialists believe that the Kosygin reforms failed because of continuing imbalances between feasible supplies and the demands of the Party-controlled government, the unwillingness to release prices, and bureaucratic resistance to any radical change. But tinkering and experiments continued until 1982. Perestroika would revive many of the basic ideas of the Kosygin reforms, with a very different denouement: chaos and collapse rather than reversal and stagnation.


http://www.answers.com/topic/kosygin-reforms

...

The Liberman reform program was harmful in that it resulted in the rejection of a trajectory which could have introduced elements of technocracy into the Soviet economic planning process, as noted briefly in the Russian wikipedia link Kirov provided. Otherwise, it did not fundamentally alter or ruin the economic foundations or performance of the Soviet economy. Stagnation was the result of continuing to use a modified Stalinist industrialization program in a country that needed to make the leap to greater qualitative growth, greater labour output, and to using advanced computer technologies in planning and production. This is why I find it so sad that the ideas of Victor Glushkov and other technocrats were actually proposed as an alternative reform trajectory side by side with the Liberman reforms, but rejected in the latter's favour.
"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
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 05 Aug 2010, 19:07
Quote:
I would like to challenge the conclusions that Mabool seems to have reached as to the effects of the Kosygin reforms on the USSR's development and on its status as a socialist country (which he has been spreading throughout the forums).


Please don't make this sound like a bill of indictment. I'm sorry if what I write demolishes some polarized thinking about the USSR.

Quote:
Firstly, they were not successful, and most of the proposals were eventually reverted by entrenched bureaucratic interests.


That is good. However, the Soviet economy still wasn't in a very good shape post-Kosygin, and there's no denying that - although this was because of deeper issues, and I admit that the priority given to profit doesn't make much of a difference.

And to make this clear: I do not mean to imply that the USSR's Stalinist economy was not socialist. It was definitely socialist. But that doesn't make it an example to follow. It was an impressive first try from which we can learn myriads of things, but after all, it wasn't more than a first try either, and I believe one of the central causes for its failure was its economy. Let's try to learn from this and do it better next time, instead of denouncing each other for heresy against our own idolized worldview.

Quote:
Secondly, using profit as an economic indicator does not necessarily mean moving away from socialism, and in fact profitibility had been an indicator, lower down in a set comprising several, even prior to the reforms.


Again, the priority given to profit in the Soviet system really doesn't make a big difference. The problem is that profit existed in the first place, that enterprises had to make financial considerations.

Quote:
As the political atmosphere gradually moved toward becoming more relaxed since de-Stalinization, a pattern of collective leadership emerged that reconciled the interests of many different bureaucracies and interest groups. In contrast to the system of delegated power in the post-Communist years, Soviet politics under Brezhnev was generally based on informal personal influence that a cadre accumulated over some particular institutions and compromise between committee members.


These are the symptoms of a profoundly sick socialist country. Collective leadership? Yes, awesome. Informal personal influence as a basis for politics? No.

Quote:
Perhaps the problem with the Kosygin/Brezhnev collective leadership was not too much power concentrated in their hands, but not enough. Forces like the ministries and the military won out, pushing the Soviet Union in a less prudent direction.


Your article saying this still doesn't convince me that the Kosygin reforms were a good idea, though. But maybe they were, maybe because they could have provided for a more "efficient" managment of the abstract labour the whole system depended on? That's possible too, but it's not really what matters here. The point is that the whole system worked on money, which made thoughts like the Kosygin reforms possible in the first place.

Quote:
Instead of four standard indicators for use of labour, there would be only one: the wage fund.


This is a perfect example for what I mean. Even more abstraction. Labour power is fully turned into a commodity, awesome. And there's countless other examples. The Kosygin reforms were made to make the Soviet enterprises work more efficiently in the artificial market that Gosplan created. The main problem isn't the reforms, it's the existence of this market.

Quote:
Stagnation was the result of continuing to use a modified Stalinist industrialization program in a country that needed to make the leap to greater qualitative growth, greater labour output, and to using advanced computer technologies in planning and production.


Exactly, but how? Mere quantitative changes in order to optimize the system wouldn't have been a real solution. Sure, you could introduce awesome new production techniques and computerized management, but on the long run, a real change of the economic foundations of the country would have to be made. It was necessary to overcome and abolish the law of value.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 06 Aug 2010, 03:16
Quote:
Please don't make this sound like a bill of indictment. I'm sorry if what I write demolishes some polarized thinking about the USSR.


Please forgive the wording. It may have sounded a bit sharp, though that was not my intention. As for demolishing polarized thinking, I'm not sure what you mean, if you admit later on in your post that "the priority given to profit doesn't make much of a difference". I had made my reply in this thread because I had noticed a trend a few months back with you coming to the conclusion that it was the Kosygin reforms of the 1960s that had ruined Soviet socialism, which is a revision on your previous line of thought that Gorbachev's reforms ruined the economy. Now I see that the conclusions you have reached based on your studies have changed once again, this time going all the way back to the foundation of the Stalinist planned economy. Thus if I am arguing with an outdated version of your thinking, it is simply because I cannot keep up with the pace at which you make revisions.

Quote:
And to make this clear: I do not mean to imply that the USSR's Stalinist economy was not socialist. It was definitely socialist. But that doesn't make it an example to follow. It was an impressive first try from which we can learn myriads of things, but after all, it wasn't more than a first try either, and I believe one of the central causes for its failure was its economy.


Agreed. Based on the planning apparatus' failure to modernize and incorporate IT for the sake of preserving its bureaucratic power, it's definitely not an example to follow.

Quote:
Your article saying this still doesn't convince me that the Kosygin reforms were a good idea, though. But maybe they were, maybe because they could have provided for a more "efficient" managment of the abstract labour the whole system depended on? That's possible too, but it's not really what matters here. The point is that the whole system worked on money, which made thoughts like the Kosygin reforms possible in the first place.


I am a proponent of the Glushkov alternative to the Kosygin reforms, so you'll get no argument from me on the impact of Kosygin/Liberman.

Quote:
This is a perfect example for what I mean. Even more abstraction. Labour power is fully turned into a commodity, awesome.


I don't think it's quite that simple. Anyway, the impact is not at all the same as it is in a capitalist economy. I'll have to search around for what the other four indicators were to give you a more concrete answer.

Quote:
Sure, you could introduce awesome new production techniques and computerized management, but on the long run, a real change of the economic foundations of the country would have to be made. It was necessary to overcome and abolish the law of value.


This could only be done with a dramatic improvement in the ability to efficiently allocate resources to the producer and products to the consumer, and, perhaps even the end of scarcity as we know it. Even in technocrats' conception of a money-free economy energy certificates constitute the limit as to how much any individual can consume.
"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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