Re: [OPE-L] On Preobrazhensky and "socialist accumulation"

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Dec 07 2006 - 09:07:31 EST

>  I just had a read of an article by Mark Harrison (Warwick
> University, UK) on "Soviet Primary Accumulation Processes" (in Science &
> Society 45/4).
> Harrison notes that Preobrazhensky himself in fact acknowledged that he
> did not anticipate the (forced) collectivisation of the peasantry, and
> Harrison writes as follows:
> "In any case collectivisation failed to secure the "tribute" which Stalin
> anticipated, because the collective farm economy was subjected to
> unforeseen resistance, evasions and losses resulting in additional costs
> of  maintenance. In fact, from 1929 the agricultural surplus never
> financed  more  than one-third  (from 1932 never more than one-fifth) of
> the annual rate of  Soviet industrial investment" (p. 390-391).

Hi Jurriaan;

He did not anticipate forced collectivization, but why should he have?

Probrazhensky's proposals for collectivization stressed how it should
be a  *voluntary* process.  While the Right Opposition and the Left
Opposition in the industrialization debates had different proposals for
agricultural development and while their emphasis on the conjunctural
importance of collective farms was different, they both agreed that
membership in collectives should be voluntary.  "Forced collectivization"
was basically *unthinkable* from both Preobrazhensky's (and the
Left Opposition's) and Bukharin's (and the Right Opposition's)

Basically (to paraphrase) the idea was that large-scale collectives
(especially using modern and efficient means of production)
would be able to produce goods more efficiently and at a lower
cost than small-scale peasant farms.  If that was the case, then
collective members could have a higher standard of living than
peasants who owned their own land.  If that was the case, then
peasants would voluntarily join collectives (not primarily for
reasons of solidarity and support for the socialist project) but
in order to experience a higher standard of living.

In solidarity, Jerry

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