Christian Rakovsky

On the Five Year Plan


From The Militant, Vol. V No. 13 (Whole No. 109), 26 March 1932, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

(Continued from last issue)

Just as quality of production sets a limit to the increase in the intensity of labor so the limit to increased intensity in the utilization of equipment is bound up with the problem of the working personnel. Great reserves can be made available for the further use of the old basic capital by making use of more shifts – by transfer to the 24 hour shift. The clarification of the question of the working personnel is not here our problem, everyone who follows this question, cannot but know that this problem cannot be solved in the near future and that, therefore, the reserves available by the increase of shifts can be utilized only to a very small degree. The question of the working personnel arises also, of course in connection with new enterprises but we will not take up this matter in this connection. Here it is important for us to show that the shortage of working personnel bound up with the impossibility of a further “loading” of the existing personnel creates a barrier for the further increase in the quantitative indices by this means.

The third factor lies beyond industry itself although it is closely bound up with it. It is the shortage of agricultural raw materials for light industry. Due to shortage of raw materials the volume of production in light industry fell in two months (May and June) by nearly 30%. During these two months the plan was only slightly over 50% fulfilled. The volume of production in the Fats Industry decreased in April by 15.5%, in May by 15.7%, in June by 38.6% of the figures for May, which means that it practically nearly ceased production. Production in the Food Industry decreased in April by 15.5%, in May by 12.9%, in. June by 23.7%. The situation in the Sugar Industry, which was practically at a halt in June, is absolutely catastrophic. For the last year only 42.8% of the production capacity of the sugar industry was realized. From these figures alone we see that we deal not only with individual breaks in certain branches but with a sharp decline of production nearly in the whole light industry with a complete suspension in certain branches. Even if the industry itself were in no degree at fault in this matter, the fact of the matter would remain and would have to be reckoned with. In truth, industry is not at fault. We see here the effects which we have warned against several times previously the delay in the development of industry became the cause for the delay in the development of agriculture.

The above article rightly ascribes the basic causes for the shortage in agricultural raw materials to the following (1) incorrect price policy; (2) incorrect regulating of the distribution of manufactured goods to producers of agricultural raw materials; (3) the lagging behind of the fertilizer industries. During the current year only 25% of the demand for fertilizers was satisfied. (4) Acute shortage of machines for the cultivation of technical cultures and a nearly complete absence of harvesting machines, due to which the sowing and first plowing of the majority of technical cultures is done by primitive hand method.

All these are direct results of the lagging behind of industry.

The study of the question of quantitative indices in connection with the above mentioned factors permits us to make the following fundamental conclusions: (1) the official figures of quantitative growth represent just a statistical fiction due to the ignoring of the quality of production. Only by taking quality into account can we obtain comparable quantity indices. (2) In so far as a quantitative growth actually took place it was based to a decisive degree of the use of a greater number of workers and on the increase of the intensity of labor. (3) In using this method of increase in quantity which contains in itself the conditions leading to its failure and does not at all guarantee the further growth of quantity indices, thus we reach a limit beyond which the further use of this method can give only negative results for the national economy. And this method has now been used to the utmost. (4) The question of the further growth ol quantity indices and even of maintaining the level already acquired is directly bound up with the problem of giving industry a new materio-technical base. This question is decided by the amount of accumulation and capital building of which we will treat further on. [1]

Barnoul, July–August 1930



1. The above constitutes the last instalment of one chapter of a larger work by comrade Rakovsky. The condition of exile and ruthless physical persecution imposed upon our comrade by the Stalin clique make for the belated publication of his work by the Left Opposition press. At the present time, the whereabouts of comrade Rakovsky are not even known. The repression of the Stalinist against this valiant revolutionary leader have been particularly vicious. The last that has been heard of him is that he was in a frightful and alarming state of health and that no consideration was to be expected of the regime. No revolutionist will forget this crime of Stalinism. – Ed.

Last updated on 20.5.2013