The Soviet economy: How it worked, and how it didn’t

Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the Russian working class to power and set about transforming society along socialist lines. But the revolution remained isolated and besieged. The nascent Soviet Union was plagued by economic backwardness, chaos, and scarcity. 

There could be no hope of constructing communism in these dire conditions. Nevertheless, the period from 1917 to 1937 saw enormous advances and progress on the basis of the planned economy. But it also saw crises, along with fierce debates over how best to develop industry and take society forwards.

In this talk, Adam Booth will discuss the laws and dynamics at play in the early Soviet economy, explaining the objective forces that propelled the Bolsheviks and the young workers’ state, and later Stalinist planners and their policies.

With such an understanding, we can see the potential of socialist planning in modern times, and gain glimpses of what a future communist society could look like. 

Recommended reading: The Revolution Betrayed: A Marxist masterpiece

Further reading: The Soviet economy in danger – Leon Trotsky 

Recommended listening: