Planning

Success and slowdown

Print edition : December 22, 2017

Leningrad, 1924: Soviet-made semi-automatic textile machinery being assembled at the Karl Marx factory. Photo: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

June 1957: K.E. Voroshilov, President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, receiving a gift from collective farmers in the Mongolian People’s Republic. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Soviet Deputy Premier Nikolai Baibakov, chairman of the State Planning Committee (Gosplan), addressing a session of the Supreme Soviet (parliament) to report on economic performance for the current year and the 1970 plan, in Moscow. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Some of the 120 young boys of different ages who became the first students of the newly opened Siberian Cadet School, during an interval between classes. The new school was modelled on elite pre-revolutionary children's military education establishments abolished after 1917. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Soviet children. A basic, minimum access to education and health was available to all. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

September 3, 1990: A Soviet Red Army soldier joins a queue to buy state-produced bread from a street vendor. Local residents said they had not seen a bread line in 25 years. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Women queueing to pay for their purchases next to an empty food display cabinet in a state food store in central Moscow. Since prices are not market determined and flexible enough to wipe out any excess demands that supply shortages may result in, the result was "suppressed markets" with shortages and queues. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The conceptual case for a system of social ownership combined with planning was transformed into a reality in the Soviet Union and proved immensely successful in many senses. However, these advances could not be sustained when all labour resources had been absorbed and growth entered the intensive phase after the 1950s.
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