2022 (19), №2

The Dichotomy of Political Economy of Socialism in the 1960s and 1970s: Between Plan and the Market

For citation: 

Voeykov, M. I. (2022). The Dichotomy of Political Economy of Socialism in the 1960s and 1970s: Between Plan and the Market. AlterEconomics, 19(2), 391-406.  https://doi.org/10.31063/AlterEconomics/2022.19-2.10.

Abstract:

The study continues the discussion opened in this journal by R. M. Nureev and P. A. Orekhovsky (2021, No. 2) about the development of the political economy of socialism in the 1960s and 1970s in the USSR. Soviet economists of this period were highly aware of the imminent changes in the country’s economy and especially of the need for a transition from the mobilization economy to a more normal economic cycle based on the broader use of commodity-money relations and market relations. These questions were at the centre of the debates between the proponents of economic planning and advocates of the «natural» market system: the latter school of thought consisted of researchers from the Institute of Economics of the Academy of Sciencies and was led by Yakov Kronrod and the former were members of the Department of Political Economy of the Moscow State University led by Nikolai Tsagolov. This debate helped formulate the key principles of market economy and cast doubt on the feasibility of many Soviet ideological formulae and cliches. The discussion was put to an end by the administrative interference when the Central Committee of the Communist Party issued a decree in 1971, which led to the reorganization of the Institute of Economics. Thus, the school that supported economic planning won and the development of a rudimentary market economy was suppressed. As a result of this debate, however, the key concepts and mechanisms of the transition from the centrally planned to market economy (which happened two decades later) were formulated. In the post-Soviet period, the speed of the transition to the market economy and the inadequacy of the economic reforms caused significant damage to the country’s economic system. Until the collapse of the USSR, the proponents of the market economy had continued to defend its advantages over the planned economy but did not support the idea of a market society. Although the political economy played a crucial role in the intellectual history of Russia, in the post-Soviet period, it largely lost its former significance.

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Mikhail I. VOEYKOV,  Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, Institute of Economics of the RAS, 32, Nakhimovsky prospect, Moscow, 117218, Russian Federation, e-mail: mvok1943@mail.ru

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