V. I. Lenin

Ideas About A State Economic “Plan”

Written: 4 July, 1921
First Published: 1924. Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, pages 499-500
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

The principal mistake we have all been making up to now is too much optimism; as a result, we succumbed to bureaucratic utopias. Only a very small part of our plans has been realised. Life, everyone, in fact, has laughed at our plans.

This must be radically altered.

Anticipate the worst. We already have some experience; it is slight, but practical.

Food supplies? Frumkin says: The. ideal is 150 million poods from the tax + 50 million poods by means of exchange +40 million poods from the Ukraine = 240 million poods.

We must base our calculations on a total of 200 million poods for the year.

What are we to do with this paltry, starvation figure? 200: 12=16 2/3.

(α) Take a minimum for the army, i.e., calculate the rations for a minimum army.

(β) Include in the plan the economic work of the army on a modest, extremely modest scale.

1 subbotnik,[Voluntary work on weekends without pay.—Translator.] 60 per cent of the army (participating).

1 out of 3 subbotnitcs 50 per cent participants (50 per cent of the army), etc.

(γ) For office employees-drastic reduction.

(δ) The workers.

Immediately draw up a list of the best enterprises (stress enterprises) by industries.

Close down ½ to ¼ of those now running.

The rest to run in two shifts. Only those which have enough fuel and bread, even if the minimum quantity of grain is collected (200 million poods) and fuel (?) for the whole year.

Do this in rough outline, as a first approximation, immediately, in a month, no later.

Fuel, we have.

A People’s Commissariat for Communications, we have.

There is no need to be exact about food; take 200 million poods.

Industry according to branches and gubernias (don’t put it off until we get the figures for the “whole”), get this done with the utmost speed,

and, the main thing,

put 70 per cent of the members of the State Planning Commission to work 14 hours a day (let science sweat a bit; we have given them good rations, now we must make them work).

Each one to be given the task of keeping “general supervision” (I think that is what it is called in the regulations of the State Planning Commission) over definite enterprises.

Take 700 as the number of large establishments, enterprises, depots (railway), state farms, etc., etc., that we must (and can, even at the worst: 200 million poods of grain in the course of the year) start and keep running from October 1, 1921 to October 1, 1922.

700 35 members of the State Planning Commission == 20.

Say 30 (not all the members of the State Planning Conmission will be continuously engaged on current work).

Take the trouble to supervise these 30 unremittingly. You are responsible for this.

Over and above these, keep an eye on another 30-70, less important; don’t keep them under constant observation, but make inquiries in passing, from time to time.

To supervise unremittingly means answering with your head for the rational consumption of fuel and grain, for the maximum stocking of the one and the other, for the maximum deliveries, for economising fuel (in industry, on the railways, etc.), for economising food (feed only good workers), for increasing productivity of labour, etc.

All the rest-lease or give to anybody you please, or close, or “abandon”, forget about, until a sound improvement is achieved, which will enable us to operate confidently, not with 200 million poods of grain +X million poods of fuel, but with 300 million poods of grain +150 per cent of X fuel.

These are my ideas about the State Planning Commission.

Think it over. Let’s discuss it.


July 4