Joseph Stalin

Economic Problems of the USSR

8. Other Questions

1) Extra-economic coercion under feudalism.

Of course, extra-economic coercion did play a part in strengthening the economic power of the feudal landlords; however, not it, but feudal ownership of the land was the basis of feudalism.

2) Personal property of the collective-farm household.

It would be wrong to say, as the draft textbook does, that "every household in a collective farm has in personal use a cow, small livestock and poultry." Actually, as we know, it is not in personal use, but as personal property that the collective-farm household has its cow, small livestock, poultry, etc. The expression "in personal use" has evidently been taken from the Model Rules of the Agricultural Artel. But a mistake was made in the Model Rules of the Agricultural Artel. The Constitution of the U.S.S.R., which was drafted more carefully, puts it differently, viz.:

"Every household in a collective farm . . . has as its personal property a subsidiary husbandry on the plot, a dwelling house, livestock, poultry and minor agricultural implements."

That, of course, is correct.

It would be well, in addition, to state more particularly that every collective farmer has as his personal property from one to so many cows, depending on local conditions, so many sheep, goats, pigs (the number also depending on local conditions), and an unlimited quantity of poultry (ducks, geese, hens, turkeys).

Such detailed particulars are of great importance for our comrades abroad, who want to know what exactly has remained as the personal property of the collective-farm household now that agriculture in our country has been collectivized.

3) Total rent paid by the peasants to the landlords; also total expenditure on the purchase of land.

The draft textbook says that as a result of the nationalization of the land, "the peasantry were released from paying rent to the landlords to a total of about 500 million rubles annually" (it should be "gold" rubles). This figure should be verified, because it seems to me that it does not include the rent paid over the whole of Russia, but only in a majority of the Russian gubernias. It should also be borne in mind that in some of the border regions of Russia rent was paid in kind, a fact which the authors of the draft text-book have evidently overlooked. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the peasants were released not only from the payment of rent, but also from annual expenditure for the purchase of land. Was this taken into account in the draft textbook? It seems to me that it was not; but it should have been.

4) Coalescence of the monopolies with the state machine.

The word "coalescence" is not appropriate. It superficially and descriptively notes the process of merging of the monopolies with the state, but it does not reveal the economic import of this process. The fact of the matter is that the merging process is not simply a process of coalescence, but the subjugation of the state machine to the monopolies. The word "coalescence" should therefore be discarded and replaced by the words "subjugation of the state machine to the monopolies."

5) Use of machines in the U.S.S.R.

The draft textbook says that "in the U.S.S.R. machines are used in all cases when they economize the labour of society." That is by no means what should be said. In the first place, machines in the U.S.S.R. always economize the labour of society, and we accordingly do not know of any cases in the U.S.S.R. where they have not economized the labour of society. In the second place, machines not only economize labour; they also lighten the labour of the worker, and accordingly, in our conditions, in contradistinction to the conditions of capitalism, the workers use machines in the processes of labour with the greatest eagerness.

It should therefore be said that nowhere are machines used so willingly as in the U.S.S.R., because they economize the labour of society and lighten the labour of the worker, and, as there is no unemployment in the U.S.S.R., the workers use machines in the national economy with the greatest eagerness.

6) Living standards of the working class in capitalist countries.

Usually, when speaking of the living standards of the working class, what is meant is only the standards of employed workers, and not of what is known as the reserve army of unemployed. Is such an attitude to the question of the living standards of the working class correct? I think it is not. If there is a reserve army of unemployed, whose members cannot live except by the sale of their labour power, then the unemployed must necessarily form part of the working class; and if they do form part of the working class, then their destitute condition cannot but influence the living standards of the workers engaged in production. I therefore think that when describing the living standards of the working class in capitalist countries, the condition of the reserve army of unemployed workers should also be taken into account.

7) National income. I think it absolutely necessary to add a chapter on national income to the draft textbook.

8) Should there be a special chapter in the textbook on Lenin and Stalin as the founders of the political economy of socialism?

I think that the chapter, "The Marxist Theory of Socialism. Founding of the Political Economy of Socialism by V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin," should be excluded from the textbook. It is entirely unnecessary, since it adds nothing, and only colourlessly reiterates what has already been said in greater detail in earlier chapters of the textbook.

As regards the other questions, I have no remarks to make on the "Proposals" of Comrades Ostrovityanov, Leontyev, Shepilov, Gatovsky, etc.

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