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Banking in Soviet Union

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Soviet cogitations: 57
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Oct 2009, 09:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 26 Aug 2012, 15:42
Can anyone direct me to a good scholarly article on this topic? The magical powers of Google has been no real help as all it could provide was biased articles written by today's bankers describing how shitty soviet banking system was while lecturing me about the awesomeness of "glorious capitalist banking system."

Note : I am not looking for what form a banking system (if they exists) should take in a communist/socialist society but how it was in USSR and what types of problems it faced.
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
Joseph Stalin
Soviet cogitations: 2051
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Aug 2012, 17:29
Not for the USSR, but I can try and dig up my copy of "Triumph of Evil" which describes East German banking at least, in pretty neutral/positive terms.
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
[+-]
Soviet cogitations: 57
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Oct 2009, 09:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Pioneer
Post 27 Aug 2012, 16:07
It will be helpful, thanks. I am not strictly looking for Soviet Union, DDR would be fine too.
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
Joseph Stalin
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 2870
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Nov 2005, 17:55
Party Bureaucrat
Post 11 Sep 2012, 03:18
There was a fundamental difference between the Soviet banking system and the "glorious capitalist banking system". The former served the interest of the public, the latter serves the interests of itself (profit).

The Soviet banking system was essentially a monobank whose credit policy was very much tied to targets of the Five Year Plan in progress at any time. Household savings and deposits formed a basis of funding for short term loans to enterprises to meet their targets and develop. Similarly, they formed a guarantee on wage and pension payments if there were small gaps in the national budget of a given year (although the Soviet finance ministry seem to have done a decent job until a crash in global oil prices, followed by the travesty of perestroika). The bank in charge was Gosbank, although I believe it had subdivisions, one for household savings, one specialized in funding industrial enterprise, and one for agriculture (need to verify). The system also provided the usual consumer fare like traveler's checks, etc. Soviet banking seems most close to postal banking systems in some other countries like Japan, mixed with a central bank, both enterprises fully owned by the Soviet people and tightly regulated. It could also be likened to other private Japanese banks tied to the zaibatsus and keiretsus, atleast up until the 1980s, when MITI lost control of guiding the Japanese economy.

Gosbank seemed to have branches around the world , for other countries to maintain their rouble deposits, as hard currency to pay for Soviet exports, and it maintained relationships with other foreign banks. Apparently, the USSR partly invented the Eurodollar contract, to be able to withdraw against its gold deposits in Washington DC (layover from WWII) via a British intermediary bank, in case the US decided to freeze Soviet assets in the US.

The success/failure of the Soviet banking system had much to do with the effectiveness of the corresponding Five Year Plan. If the surplus value of profitable enterprises was not enough to cross-subsidize the unproductive enterprises, credit extended by Gosbank would plug that hole. A well devised Plan would make use of that credit to reduce costs of the unproductive enterprise or to increase revenue in the profitable enterprise. An ill-devised plan would have Gosbank funding unproductive enterprise. This had become a problem in the late 1970s when Brezhnev's lax policy against black market activity resulted in distorted plan targets, but Andropov's plan was supposed to rectify teh issue through intensive development that would reduce the Gosbank's deficit plug. Of course, Mr. Gorbachev had different ideas...

Capitalists jump on the fact that Soviet banking would subsidize inefficiency, without realizing (a) capitalist banking does precisely that while also extracting a profit, and (b) capitalist banking/private equity mercilessly hacks jobs, destroys livelihoods, and encourages private indebtedness in such situations, instead of preserving employment and private financial solvency, and coordinating with other sectors of the economy.

I haven't found any reliable sources yet for more detail into any of this, though.
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