Decision-Making in the Stalinist Command Economy, 1932-37

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Every aspect of economic activity was subject to planning and control, even agriculture, important because although the Soviet Union comprised a huge landmass, only 10 percent of it was suitable for growing crops. The scarcity of food in the years of the civil war through the s was a major source of unrest and possible destabilization. Each plan was different in that it would emphasize different objectives.

E. A. Rees

In the first two plans to , creating heavy industry for the Soviet Union was the single most important goal, and all of the plan components were coordinated to support that goal. In later years, there was an increased emphasis on making consumer goods available to the general population.


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The plans after World War II focused on rebuilding and repairing the immense destruction that had occurred during the war. In the postwar years, there was once again a very heavy emphasis on increasing agricultural production.

Decision making in planned, mixed and market economies

The planning of each Five-Year Plan was a process with defined stages, objectives, and roles to be played by the designated participants. Although planning through the years evolved and each was different, a look at how it was done for the second Five-Year Plan gives a good general sense of how it was done.

How the Soviet System Cracked | Hoover Institution

In general work on drafting the second FiveYear Plan began. Each department or industry would develop its targets to be reached during the period under consideration. It worked with all departments to adjust targets and prepare a cohesive nationwide plan. After approval there might be some changes to the plan, but there were no significant departures. In and , the changes made to the plan were primarily to increase quota quantities to be produced.

In this phase, Stalin often took a more or less direct role in encouraging increases in expectations. There were changes to the objectives in and Officially in , the plan came to an end, and the objectives were considered to have been met. Stalin, however, attacked the alleged success of the plan, stating that the goals and objectives were set so low that no satisfaction could be taken from meeting them.

What is significant about this statement is that was considered to be the worst of the purge years.

Decision-making in the Stalinist Command Economy, 1932-37

Quotas, or norms, were an integral part of the plans, and the assignment of objectives to an industry or factory percolated down to teams and the individual workers. In the prison camps of the Gulag, whether one ate or not would depend on whether one met a norm in construction, cutting timber, or mining gold. The work examines the process by which the plan was formulated and implemented, through a series of detailed case-studies, based on archival material, examining the role of the Politburo, the Soviet government, Gosplan and the main economic commissariats.

It examines the relationship between the conflicts within the economic commissariats and the unleashing of the Great Purges The work aims towards a new conceptualisation of the Stalinist state. Palgrave Macmillan. From award-winning research which changes the world to textbooks and study guides which educate and inspire, we publish across the humanities, social sciences and business for academics, students, professionals and librarians worldwide.

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