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 national

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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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