Pravda No. 61, March 14, 1913.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 596-597.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The Minister of Finance, in his explanatory note on the Budget, and all the government parties assure themselves and others that our Budget is firmly based. They refer, among other things, to the “achievements” of industry, which indubitably has been on the upgrade in the last few years.
Our industry, as well as our entire national economy, has been developing along capitalist lines. That is indisputable, and needs no proof. But anyone who limits himself to data on “development” and to the smugly boastful statement that “there is an increase of so-and-so many per cent” shuts his eyes to Russia’s incredible backwardness and poverty, which these data reveal.
The output of our entire factory industry was worth 4,307 million rubles in 1908 and about 4,895 million rubles in 1911, says the Minister of Finance exultantly.
But see what these figures mean. In America a census is taken every ten years. To come upon a figure similar to ours, we must go back to 1860, when America still had Negro slaves.
In 1860 the output of America’s manufacturing industry was valued at 3,771 million rubles, and in 1870 it was worth as much as 8,464 million rubles. In 1910 its value was already as high as 41,344 million rubles, i.e., almost nine times as much as in Russia. Russia has a population of 160 million, while America had 92 million in 1910 and 31 million in 1860!
In 1911 the Russian factory worker earned an annual average of 251 rubles, or 8.2 per cent more (in terms of the wages total) than in 1910, exults the Minister of Finance.
In America the average pay of the industrial worker in 1910 was 1,036 rubles, i.e., more than four times that of his Russian counterpart. In 1860 it was 576 rubles, i.e., double the present amount in Russia.
Twentieth-century Russia, the Russia of the June Third “Constitution”, is in a lower position than slave-owning America.
In Russia, annual productivity per factory worker was 1,810 rubles in 1908, while in America it was 2,860 rubles in 1860 and 6,264 rubles in 1910.
These few figures suffice as a brief illustration of modern capitalism and of the medieval oppression of serfdom which fetters it, and which accounts for the sorry plight of the bulk of the peasantry.
As a matter of fact, the plight of the peasantry is inevitably reducing the home market to miserable dimensions and dragging down the worker, who in 1911 earned half the amount earned by the American worker in the period of slavery. Besides, the conditions of the world market confront Russia with the alternative of either being crushed by competitors among whom capitalism is advancing at a different rate and on a truly broad basis, or of getting rid of all the survivals of serfdom.