A overview of the results and effects of the five year plans

In War Communism, the state had assumed control of all means of production, exchange and communication.

A overview of the results and effects of the five year plans

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David Walters Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. For striking as it looks at first sight, the expression is not without its ambiguities. Is it a question of the bourgeois states as a whole, those European countries that are most advanced from the point of view of industrial civilisation, or solely the United States, considered as the nation which above all represents capitalism at its highest stage of development?

The originators of the Five Year Plan are reticent on this score, and cultivate an imprecision that favours whatever interpretation circumstances require… On the other hand, they spare no superficial detail, nor any useless figure in their day-to-day commentaries about the progress of the Plan, whilst concealing for as long as possible information that is really indispensable for understanding its actual or probable results, if it is awkward to admit.

However, by patiently consulting a mass of official Communist literature and taking the trouble to study and come into contact with certain essential information, it is possible to form a serious opinion of this Plan and the future consequences of its application. First of all, how did it originate?

On the occasion of the Twelfth Anniversary of the Revolution, Trotsky wrote in his press: In fact, the proposal to devote a greater proportion of the budgetary resources and the national revenue to the industrialisation of Russia in line with general plans belongs entirely to the Opposition, whose chosen spokesman is Trotsky.

A overview of the results and effects of the five year plans

After the leaders of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state had condemned this proposal as utopian and its proposer as petit-bourgeois, they very quickly took over the idea they had condemned and more or less intelligently attempted to carry it out.

The annual plans lacked width, breadth and vision. The Opposition, under the leadership of Trotsky, made a thorough criticism of this plan, which it judged to be sparse and pessimistic. At the Fifteenth Party Congress, it showed that a plan like this had to be rejected as incompatible with the advance of Russia towards socialism: This is the plan now in operation that is under consideration here.

There are in them an incredible jumble of roubles, tons, hectares and kilowatts, the lot occasionally expressed in percentages referring to different starting-off points, with a mixture of forecasts and results contradicted by corrections, with the constant complication of a currency that changes its value not to mention the social side of things, which is always in contradiction with its purely economic appearance as expressed in the successive figures.

If we compare the accounts of different people, based upon the reports of different institutions, it is rare that the data coincide. Moreover, the inappropriate nature of the terms used frequently alters the true picture in a most striking manner: Finally, the flashy statements or outright lies printed in banner headlines in the Soviet press are often contradicted in the same newspaper, but in microscopic letters, in a report from the state organisation in question.

On the other hand, the most important figures to know appear at first sight to be the most insignificant: For the whole thing would be threatened with dislocation if the different parts of the system had a pronounced tendency towards deviating from the programme.

And a thousand million kilowatt hours that has only to be produced as a one-off does not compensate for a two or three percent shortfall in carrying out vital work, for example, the extension of the area under cultivation. We have to envisage what a few units of percentage represent in Russian proportions: We shall therefore limit ourselves to examining the main numerical data capable of giving us an idea of the Plan as a whole and its aims, whilst laying aside for later the figures that show interdependent tendencies.

For the Plan to be realised, it has to increase the value of industrial production from The national income must reach The real value of the rouble-chervonets varies between three and four francs, according to its purchasing power. And during this time the population would be increasing by 18 million people.

How far does this apparently imposing programme correspond to real progress? The present production of the USSR is so insignificant with reference to its needs and so inferior in quantity and quality to that of the capitalist countries, and the living standards of the Russian workers are so low that the forecasted increase in production of per cent in industry and 50 per cent in agriculture would still not register as a noticeable improvement in the material condition of the mass of the people, above all if we take account of the growth in the population, and of the fact that 78 per cent of the capital allocated to industry will go to the means of production, and not to consumer products.

The point of departure is so low that the rate of progress expected would not realise quite so soon the dream of Americanising the USSR. We must not, however, exaggerate the results already attained by industry. With but a few exceptions—coal, sugar beet—the share of the USSR in world production is still inferior to what it was before the war.

The contrast with the boasts with which the Communist press of every country has been saturated for six years now is very striking. Krzhizhanovsky, [4] for his part, recognised: But in two departments, those of iron and grain production, we were still well behind Has this calculation been made taking into account the increase in population?

And upon what value of the rouble is it based? What are the relationships between prices and quantities? We shall show later what confidence can be placed in these statements. Taking the example of cereals alone, Rykov stated that the harvest envisaged for was of How do we compensate for this disastrous decline in evaluating the revenue as a whole?

Rykov now notes in the same Report that after the forecasts fora good harvest year, a drop of The Five Year Plan was supported by Soviet Russia, which contributed advice, logistics and material support.

Moscow provided a small loan of $ million and, more importantly, the services of several thousand Soviet engineers, scientists, technicians and planners. From the very beginning, Stalin’s proposal of a Five-Year Plan for the Soviet Union economy was severely criticized.

Although many warned that the plan was unrealistic, irrational, and even mathematically impossible, Stalin went ahead and began his first Five-Year plan in In the Soviet Union, the first Five-Year Plan (–32), implemented by Joseph Stalin, concentrated on developing heavy industry and collectivizing agriculture, at the cost of a drastic fall in consumer goods.

The second plan (–37) continued the objectives of the first.

A overview of the results and effects of the five year plans

During the eleventh five-year plan, the country imported some 42 million tons of grain annually, almost twice as much as during the tenth five-year plan and three times as much as during the ninth five-year plan (–). For this, he developed three Five-year Plans between and Gosplan, the state planning agency, drew up targets for production for each factory.

A first “Five Year Plan” was framed in for the period from October to September ; the “control figures” were to correct or modify year by year the arrangements for the next financial year according to the results of the past year.

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