Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution

Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution

by Robert C. Allen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691144311

ISBN-13: 9780691144313

Pub. Date: 07/06/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

To say that history's greatest economic experiment—Soviet communism—was also its greatest economic failure is to say what many consider obvious. Here, in a startling reinterpretation, Robert Allen argues that the USSR was one of the most successful developing economies of the twentieth century. He reaches this provocative conclusion by recalculating

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Overview

To say that history's greatest economic experiment—Soviet communism—was also its greatest economic failure is to say what many consider obvious. Here, in a startling reinterpretation, Robert Allen argues that the USSR was one of the most successful developing economies of the twentieth century. He reaches this provocative conclusion by recalculating national consumption and using economic, demographic, and computer simulation models to address the "what if" questions central to Soviet history. Moreover, by comparing Soviet performance not only with advanced but with less developed countries, he provides a meaningful context for its evaluation.

Although the Russian economy began to develop in the late nineteenth century based on wheat exports, modern economic growth proved elusive. But growth was rapid from 1928 to the 1970s—due to successful Five Year Plans. Notwithstanding the horrors of Stalinism, the building of heavy industry accelerated growth during the 1930s and raised living standards, especially for the many peasants who moved to cities. A sudden drop in fertility due to the education of women and their employment outside the home also facilitated growth.

While highlighting the previously underemphasized achievements of Soviet planning, Farm to Factory also shows, through methodical analysis set in fluid prose, that Stalin's worst excesses—such as the bloody collectivization of agriculture—did little to spur growth. Economic development stagnated after 1970, as vital resources were diverted to the military and as a Soviet leadership lacking in original thought pursued wasteful investments.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691144313
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/06/2009
Series:
Princeton Economic History of the Western World Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

List of Tables xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter One

Soviet Development in World-Historical Perspective 1

Part One

The Economy before Stalin 19

Chapter Two

Economic Growth before 1917 21

Chapter Three

The Development Problem in the 1920s 47

Chapter Four

NEP Agriculture and Economic Development 65

Part Two

Stalin's Industrial Revolution 89

Chapter Five

Planning, Collectivization, and Rapid Growth 91

Chapter Six

The Population History of the USSR 111

Chapter Seven

The Standard of Living 132

Chapter Eight

The Causes of Rapid Industrialization 153

Chapter Nine

Preobrazhensky in Action 172

Part Three

After Stalin 187

Chapter Ten

The Soviet Climacteric 189

Appendix A

Soviet National Income 212

Appendix B

The Simulation Model of the Soviet Economy 223

Appendix C

Data Sources 238

Appendix D

The Demographic Databases and Simulation Model Used in Chapter 6 249

Notes 253

Bibliography 271

Index 295

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