RuEn

Journal section "History of economic and sociological thought"

Revisiting the Type of Economic System in the USSR

Beznin M.A., Dimoni T.M.

5 (47), 2016

Beznin M.A., Dimoni T.M. Revisiting the Type of Economic System in the USSR. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2016, no. 5 (47), pp. 238-250. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2016.5.47.13

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2016.5.47.13

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article characterizes the type of economic system of the Soviet Union. In the authors’ view, modern historiography has reached the impasse trying to address the issue. The overwhelming majority of researchers recognize that the USSR economic system was socialist, with all the attendant “positive” and “negative” aspects. The article proposes to characterize the type of economic system of the Soviet period through the analysis of correlation of important production factors such as labor and capital. This analysis is based on data of the USSR input-output balances of the national economy in the 1970–1980s. This source is introduced into scientific parlance for the first time; previously, it belonged to the category of “confidential”. In order to address the issue of the USSR type of economic system, the authors refer to the content of the tables containing data on common indicators of national economy during 1980–1986, the proportion of direct and materialized labor in total labor costs for 1975–1985, and the ratio of the number of the Soviet workers involved in mechanized and manual labor for 1975–1985. The data presented in tables reveal a major gap between industries in terms of labor costs and capital ratio: the share of capital was larger in industry; in agriculture it did not exceed half of total labor cost. In general, the level of direct labor costs in material production sectors of the USSR was slightly higher than the level of capital expenditure. Another important indicator which characterizes the type of economic system is the authors’ description of the ratio of manual and mechanized labor in the national economy. In industry and construction the share of those who worked with machines and mechanisms comprised about 2/3 of the total number of workers, whereas in agriculture it did not exceed 1/3. These statistics help move forward in the formulation and resolution of the issue of the USSR type of economic system. However, the issue itself remains open

Keywords

USSR economy, USSR socio-economic system, input-output balances of the national economy

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