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"Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation?" (1936, PDF)

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Post 02 Apr 2019, 15:41

Scanned by me.

Soviet Communism was a big deal when it came out. Sidney and Beatrice Webb were leading figures of the Fabian Society. Initially critics of the USSR, the Webbs undertook to seriously research it in the early 30s, amassing books and articles as well as visiting the country in 1932 and '34. The result was a detailed account by two non-Marxists of just about every major aspect of Soviet society: the government, factories and agriculture, incentives to work, trade unions, education, health, justice, recreation, etc.

The academic consensus of the Webbs' effort back then was expressed by A.C. Pigou, a bourgeois economist:

They speak frankly as admirers of the great constructive work that is being attempted. They do not hide the cruelty and suffering out of which it was born. . . But their wounds are the wounds of a friend. It may well be that their impressions are over-favourable, their hopes unduly sanguine. They would, indeed, be the last to claim that their picture is final or complete. . . But, though the Webbs' book will not stand in [the reader's] library alone, it will most assuredly stand there, and that in a place of honour.
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