A Textbook issued by the Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R




The Character of Labour in Socialist Society

The consolidation of socialist relations of production denotes a fundamental change in the character of work. Labour-power has ceased to be a commodity. The working people, with the aid of the means of production belonging to them, work for themselves, for their own society. Work in socialist society is work freed from exploitation.

“For the first time after centuries of working for others, of working in subjection for the exploiter, it has become possible to work for oneself, and moreover to employ all the achievements of modern technique and culture in one’s work." (Lenin, “How to Organise Competition", Selected Works, 1950; English edition, Vol. II, Part I, p. 368.)

Under capitalism free labour presents itself directly as private labour and its social character is seen only in the market, behind the back of the commodity producers, whereas labour in socialist society has a directly social character, and is organised in a planned way on a country-wide scale. In consequence of this, the labour of each individual worker appears directly as part of the total social labour. The planned organisation of social labour provides the opportunity, unknown under capitalism, of making the fullest use of labour reserves on the scale of the whole society.

Under socialism, the position of the working man in society has been fundamentally changed. In contrast to capitalism, where man’s status is determined by his social origin and wealth, man’s status in socialist society is determined by his work and personal abilities alone.

Freedom from exploitation and the changed status of the working man in society evoke a transformation in man’s view of labour giving rise to a new attitude to work. In the course of centuries the exploiting system created among numerous generations of working people an aversion to work, as to an onerous and shameful burden. Socialism transforms labour into a matter of honour, valour and heroism and imparts to it an increasingly creative character. In socialist society the working man, if he works well and displays initiative in improving production, is surrounded with honour and glory.

All this gives rise to new social incentives to labour that are unknown under capitalism.

At the same time labour in socialist society has not yet become a prime necessity of life for all members of society; work for the common good has not yet become a matter of habit. In the socialist stage, survivals of capitalism in man’s consciousness have not yet been finally overcome. Alongside the majority of workers honourably fulfilling their obligations to society, and displaying creative initiative in work, there are workers who treat their obligations dishonourably and violate labour discipline. Such people try to give as little as possible to socialist society and to receive as much as possible from it.

In socialist society there are still considerable survivals of the old division of labour—the essential differences between mental and physical labour, between the labour of worker and peasant, the differences between skilled and unskilled labour and between heavy and light labour. These survivals are only being overcome gradually, as the productive forces of socialism develop and the material production basis of communism is created.

It follows from all this that the personal material interest of the worker in the results of his work as an incentive to the development of production is of tremendous importance. This interest is secured by the worker’s dependence for his position in society on the quantity and quality of his labour. Making use of the material interest of every worker in the results of his labour is one of the fundamental methods of socialist economic management. Lenin pointed out: “Every important branch of national economy must be built up on the principle of personal incentive". (Lenin, “The New Economic Policy and the Tasks of the Political Education Departments", Selected Works, 12 vol. edition, 1946, vol. IX, p. 265.)

The principle of material interest is most extensively applied in the wages of workers and employees, in the distribution of incomes in the collective farms, in the organisation of cost-accounting, in the fixing of prices of industrial and agricultural products, etc.

The radical change in the nature of labour under socialism provides the necessary conditions for a systematic and rapid growth of its productivity, for creating a productivity of labour that is higher than that under capitalism.

Labour as an Obligation of Members of Socialist Society. Exercise of the Right to Work

Socialism and labour are indivisible. Socialism has put an end to the blatant contradiction of the capitalist system, whereby an exploiting upper crust of society leads a parasitic existence while the working masses bear the yoke of labour beyond their strength, only interrupted by periods of compulsory inactivity through unemployment. In eliminating capitalist ownership of the means of production, socialism thereby abolished the conditions in which one class—the owners of the means of production—could live on the labour of another class of people, who were deprived of the, means of production. Since personal labour alone is a means of livelihood in socialist society, social ownership of the means of production denotes the equal obligation of citizens to participate in social labour. Labour in the U.S.S.R. is an obligation and a matter of honour for every able-bodied citizen.

The socialist system, for the first time in the history of mankind, put into practice not only the equal obligation of all able-bodied citizens to work, but also the equal right of all citizens to work. In this way the age-old dream of the working masses has been brought to life in socialist society. The right to work results from the social ownership of the means of production, which gives to every citizen equal access to work on the socially-owned land and in the socially-owned factories and mills. The right to work is the right of each able-bodied member of society to obtain secure work paid in accordance with its quantity and quality. This right has been given legislative force in the Constitution of the U.S.S.R., and is guaranteed in practice by the socialist organisation of the national economy, the steady growth of the productive forces of society, and by the elimination of the possibility of economic crises and of unemployment.

Unemployment—the scourge of the working people under capitalism—has been eliminated in the U.S.S.R. once and for all; the worker is no longer under the threat of being thrown out of work and deprived of the means of livelihood. The abolition of unemployment and of the uncertainty of the workers for the morrow, the abolition of impoverishment and pauperism in the, countryside, are a great achievement of the Soviet people.

The effective right to work enables the labour resources of society to be utilised on an enormously increased scale for the development of production. The continuous growth of production in socialist society logically leads to a steady growth in the number of workers and employees.

The number of manual and clerical workers in the national economy of the U.S.S.R. at the end of the year amounted in 1928 to 10.8 million, 1932, 22.8 million, 1937, 27 million, 1940, 31.5 million, 1954, about 47 million.

The elimination of unemployment in the towns and of rural over-population and poverty in the countryside, together with the continuous growth of socialist production, fundamentally alter the conditions in which enterprises are provided with labour-power. Under capitalism the demand for labour-power is satisfied without any element of planning, out of the reserve army of unemployed and rural surplus-population. In socialist society, on the contrary, enterprises obtain their labour in a planned way, by organised recruitment, training and allocation.

Capitalism makes the worker an appendage of the machine and stifles man’s abilities. Socialism, on the contrary, liberates labour from exploitation and gives all citizens free access to education thereby providing all the necessary conditions, for the development and free play of the capacities of the working people.

The continuous growth of socialist production on the basis of the highest techniques requires a steady rise in the cultural and technical level of the working people, and an increased proportion of skilled workers in all branches of the national economy. The training of workers in a planned way and on a mass scale has been achieved under socialism for the first time in history.

The rise in the cultural and technical level of the working people is secured, above all, by the development of education. In the Soviet Union universal compulsory seven-year education has been achieved and the transition to universal compulsory secondary (ten-year) education is taking place. Special secondary and higher education has been widely developed. The cultural characteristics of the working class and the peasantry are changing. The proportion of workers and collective farmers who have had seven-year and secondary education is growing.

The rise of the cultural and technical level of the working people also takes place through production and technical training, which includes both training of new workers and improvement of the workers’ existing skill while continuing at their trade. To satisfy the demand for skilled personnel in the key branches of the national economy, a system for training State labour reserves has been created in the U.S.S.R. It possesses a network of industrial and railway schools, and well as factory and mill schools. Those attending these schools are maintained by the State during their period of study. Together with the system of State labour reserves, an important source for supplementing the numbers of skilled workers is the mass production training of workers at their places of work, through individual and team study and in courses of instruction which embrace millions of working people. There is a rapidly increasing number of intelligentsia and highly qualified specialists drawn from the ranks of the workers and peasants.

By the beginning of 1952 more than half the total number of industrial workers in the U.S,S.R. had already received an education up to the 5th or 6th classes at secondary school. The number of workers who have finished the ten-year schools is increasing.

In the course of fourteen years (from 1941 to 1954 inclusive) more than 7½ million young skilled workers in various trades were trained at the expense of the State in the industrial and railway schools, in factory and mill schools, and in schools for the mechanisation of agriculture. During four years of the fifth Five-Year Plan a yearly average of 2,500,000 new skilled workers were trained by individual and team study and at courses of instruction, and some 3,500,000 workers improved their skill. In the same period about 2,500,000 collective farmers annually attended three-year agronomic and stock-breeding courses. The system of correspondence courses for workers, and collective farmers is also widely developed.

Distribution According to Work—An Economic Law of Socialism

The socialist mode of production also determines its appropriate form of distribution. With socialist society in mind, Engels wrote:

“Distribution, in so far as it is governed by purely economic considerations, will be regulated by the interests of production, and production is most encouraged by a mode of distribution which allows all members of society to develop, maintain and exert their capacities with maximum universality." (Engels, Anti-Duhring, English edition, 1954, pp. 277-8.)

In socialist society, distribution according to work most fully corresponds to this requirement.

In the first phase of communism, the productive forces have not yet achieved a level high enough to provide the abundance of products which is necessary for distribution according to needs. As already stated, labour under socialism has not yet become life’s prime need for the entire mass of the working people and, in consequence, workers have to be given a material incentive. Under socialism there is still a difference between skilled and unskilled labour, and between the labour of the conscientious worker and of the worker whose attitude to his duties is not conscientious. In consequence, the distribution of articles of consumption has to take into account the differences in the quantity and quality of the labour expended by each worker in socialist production.

Hence the need arises for “the strictest control, by society and by the State, of the measure of labour and the measure of consumption". (Lenin, “State and Revolution", Selected Works, English edition, 1951, p. 300.) Socialist society has to supervise people’s participation in labour, take account of the differences in skills, and lay down output standards and scales of payment, so that he who works most and. best receives a greater share of the product of social labour.

Consequently distribution according to work is the sole possible and necessary method of distributing material wealth in socialist society. By giving every worker a personal material interest in the results of his labour, distribution according to work is a powerful motive force in developing production. It encourages higher productivity of labour and thereby helps to raise the well-being of the working people.

By making each worker’s share of the product of social labour depend directly on the degree of his participation in social production, distribution according to work links the personal interest of the worker with the general interests of the State.

Distribution according to work necessitates strict allowance for the differences between skilled and unskilled work. Higher payment for skilled work does justice to the skilled worker, and, gives unskilled workers the prospect of rising into the ranks oft the skilled. This stimulates the cultural and technical development of the working people, and brings about the gradual elimination of the essential differences between mental and physical labour.

Distribution according to work helps to eliminate fluctuations in the labour force and to build up stable cadres. This is of great importance for the improvement of the organisation of work in factories. Without a permanent body of workers who have mastered techniques and accumulated production experience, the successful development of socialist production is impossible.

Thus distribution according to work is an objective necessity, and is an economic law of socialism.

The economic law of distribution according to work requires distribution of products in direct accordance with the quantity and quality of work of each worker, with equal payment for equal work independently of the sex, age, race and nationality of the citizens of socialist society. The reward of labour both in industry and in agriculture should be built up so as to conform to this law.

The economic law of distribution according to work is applied by the Communist Party and the Soviet State in a determined struggle against petty-bourgeois equalising tendencies—that is, the equalising of wages independently of the quantity and quality of work performed, the workers skill, or the productivity of their labour. Equalising tendencies are a reflection of the petty-bourgeois concept which sees socialism as a universal equalising of consumption, living, conditions, tastes and needs. It inflicts great harm on production, leading to fluctuations a personnel, a fall in labour productivity and non-fulfilment of plans. In unmasking the petty-bourgeois concept of socialism, Lenin, explained the Marxist concept of equality. By equality, Marxism understands not the equality of physical and spiritual abilities, but social and economic equality. For socialism, this means the elimination of the private ownership of the means of production and of exploitation, equally for all; equal access to work with the socialised means of production; equal obligation for all to work; and a single principle for all, of payment according to work.

Socialist Co-operation of Labour

Socialism heralds a new and higher stage in the historical development of co-operation of labour, compared with preceding forms of society. Socialist co­operation of labour is the co-operation of workers freed from exploitation, and linked with each other by relations of comradely co-operation and mutual aid; it is based on the most advanced techniques. Socialist co-operation makes it possible for labour to be an immeasurably more powerful productive force than does capitalist co-operation. The methods of raising the productive capacity of social labour which are inherent in co-operation—application of the division of labour and machine technique, economy of means of production, etc. —are most fully developed in the conditions of socialism. In contrast to private ownership of the means of production which restricts the scale of labour co-operation, social ownership greatly extends its limits and enables the combined labour of many people to be applied on a scale inaccessible to capitalism. This is reflected in a higher degree of concentration of production than under capitalism, in both industry and agriculture, and in the carrying out of the largest national economic measures.

A new labour discipline, which differs in principle from that of all preceding forms of society, is characteristic of socialist co-operation. Capitalist organisation of social labour is maintained by the discipline of hunger, by the separation of the workers from the means of production. Socialist labour discipline is the conscientious, comradely discipline of working people who are the masters of their country. In socialist society, maintenance of the necessary labour discipline is in accordance with the fundamental interests of the working masses. One of the most important tasks of the Socialist State is the upbringing of the working people in the spirit of socialist labour discipline and systematic struggle against those who violate labour discipline.

Every kind of combined labour of many workers requires management which co-ordinates their activity and organises the necessary production links between them. Socialist co-operation of labour presupposes the stable and steady application of one-man management at all stages of the machinery of production and administration. One-man management is a method of administering socialist State enterprise and institutions which is based on the subordination of the mass of workers to the single will of the head of the labour process. It is combined with the broad creative initiative of the mass of workers m the process of production.

With the abolition of capitalist exploitation there has also been abolished the managerial despotism inseparable from it, and representing all-powerful capital, the arbitrariness of the employer and his management, and the lack of rights of the working masses. In socialist society the heads of enterprises, trusts chief administrations and Ministries are trustees and servants of the people and of the Socialist State. Under capitalism the working people look on those in charge— directors, managers, floor managers and foremen—as enemies, since they direct production in the interests of the capitalists and of their profits. In socialist society those in charge enjoy the trust of the people, since they direct production in the interests, not of capitalist profits but of the entire people.

The elimination of exploitation fundamentally alters the relations between those who work by hand and those who work by brain. The antithesis of interests between the workers and the leading personnel of factories, which is characteristic of capitalism, has vanished. In a socialist economy the manual workers and the leading personnel of factories are members of a single working collective which is profoundly concerned with successful and improved production. Hence the creative partnership of the workers by hand and by brain, aimed at constantly improving production.

Under capitalism the labour of the workers is increasingly deprived of spiritual content and the gulf between mental and physical labour grows. In socialist society manual labour constantly enriched by spiritual content; physical and mental labour draw closer together, and the differences between them are gradually eliminated. This is reflected in the continuous rise in the cultural and technical level of the working class and the peasantry, and in the development of socialist emulation, which is a most important feature of co-operation of labour in socialist society.

Socialist Emulation

Socialist emulation is a method of raising labour productivity and perfecting production on the basis of the maximum participation of the working masses. Lenin pointed out that socialism provides the opportunity, for the first time, of applying emulation on a really wide basis and on a mass scale, embracing the millions of working people. Socialist emulation aims at fulfilling and overfulfilling national economic plans and securing a continuous increase of socialist production.

In place of such motive forces of production as the drive for profit and competition, socialism has given birth to new, incomparably more powerful motive forces. These consist above all of the profound incentive, which the basic economic law of socialism gives to the masses, to secure the development of social production. The subordination of socialist production to the aim of satisfying as fully as possible the growing needs of the working people serves as an inexhaustible source for raising the productivity of labour and perfecting industry on the basis of the highest techniques. Distribution according to work plays an important role in developing socialist emulation. By making the remuneration of labour dependent on the quantity and quality of the work done, distribution according to work encourages the display of the creative initiative of the masses in the process of production.

Socialist emulation differs fundamentally from the competition which predominates in bourgeois society.

“The principle of competition is: defeat and death for some and victory and domination for others.

“The principle of socialist emulation is: comradely assistance by the foremost to the laggards, so as to achieve an advance of all.

“Competition says: destroy the laggards so as to establish your own domination.

“Socialist emulation says: some work badly, others work well, yet others best of all—catch up with the best and secure the advance of all." (Stalin, “Emulation and Labour Enthusiasm of the Masses", Works, English edition, Vol. XII, p. 114.)

Socialist emulation expresses the comradely co-operation of the working people and their common struggle for a general growth of production. It sets free the creative abilities of the workers and makes possible the fuller utilisation of all the advantages of social labour which exist under socialism.

The characteristic feature of emulation, is the creative initiative of innovators and advanced workers, who have completely mastered advanced techniques, by discarding the old, out-dated standards and work methods and proposing new ones. In the struggle against all that is old and out-dated, advanced workers are opening new paths for the development of production and discovering new reserves for raising labour productivity.

The creative initiative of the working people does not allow production to stagnate or mark time; it is the source of constant advance and improvement in production. The key to the advanced work methods of the innovators is the fundamental improvement of the organisation of work and production (division of labour, combining jobs, working to schedule, etc.) and of production technology and techniques (intensification of technological processes, perfecting of instruments, appliances, machine tools, etc.). Advanced workers in agriculture apply new methods of scientific technique in cultivation and stock-breeding, raising crop yields and livestock productivity.

Socialist emulation presupposes rapid and widespread application of advanced experience. In socialist society the force of example takes mass effect for the first time, serving as a spur to continuous growth and improvement of production. This is attained, in the first place, by the active comradely assistance which the innovators extend to all workers in production in mastering advanced labour methods, and takes a variety of forms (personal instruction, guardianship of novices by old hands, schools for advanced workers and innovators, etc.) secondly, by the efforts of the mass of working people to overtake the advanced workers to master their experience so as to obtain a general increase in output; thirdly, by widely publicising emulation, comparing the work results of enterprises.

Widespread application of advanced experience is one of the most important tasks of economic managers and social organisations. On. the basis of the advanced experience of innovators in production, the State economic bodies lay down progressive standards of labour expenditure and of utilisation of the means of production. These standards are used as the basis of production plans. The application of advanced experience, and the mastery of new standards and methods of work by the majority of workers, secure a new and higher level of labour productivity.

The Communist Party and the Soviet State take the lead of the socialist emulation of the masses and support it in every way possible. For successes in their work the working people receive not only material encouragement, but also awards of orders and medals, while outstanding innovators are awarded the titles of Heroes of Socialist Labour and receive prizes.

Socialist emulation in the U.S.S.R. has assumed national dimensions. The most widespread and effective form of emulation in factories is individual and team emulation. At the same time, emulation is developed between factory departments, entire factories, collective farms, M.T.S., State farms, districts, regions and republics. Emulation for high quality production, best utilisation of productive capacities, reduction of production costs, above-plan economies of material and financial resources and for high crop-yields and live-stock productivity, has developed on a broad scale. More than 90 per cent of industrial workers participated in socialist emulation in 1954. More than 900,000 proposals for inventions, technical improvements and rationalisation were applied in industry, building and transport m 1954.

Socialist emulation in town and country is a powerful driving force in the development of the socialist economy and in building communist society.

Steady Growth of Labour Productivity—An Economic Law of Socialism

A steady rise in labour productivity is a most important condition for the triumph of socialism over capitalism and the building of communism. Lenin wrote:

“In the last analysis, productivity of labour is the most important, the principal thing for the victory of the new social system. Capitalism created a productivity of labour unknown under serfdom. Capitalism can be utterly vanquished, and will be utterly vanquished, by the fact that socialism creates a new, and much higher productivity of labour." (Lenin, “A Great Beginning", Selected Works, English edition, 1950, Vol. n, Part 2, p. 231.)

As is well known, labour productivity is measured either by the quantity of products turned out by the worker in a unit of time, or by the quantity of working time expended an a unit of production. Higher labour productivity is expressed in the fact that with a decreased share of living labour in the product, and a relative increase in the share of past labour, the total quantity of labour in a unit of production diminishes. A growth of labour productivity means increased output per unit of working time.

Labour productivity increases with economy of labour, including, in this context, both living and congealed labour an a nation-wide scale. Marxism teaches that real economy consists in a saving of working time, and that this saving is identical with the development of the productive capacity of labour. Marx speaks of the universal economic law “by virtue of which costs of production continually fall while live labour continually becomes more productive". But this law operates differently; under different economic conditions. Owing to the contradictions inherent in capitalism, the productivity of labour in bourgeois society grows at a slaw rate and is unstable in character. “Hence for capital the law of rising productive power of labour does not have unconditional validity." (Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III.)

As well as eliminating private capitalist ownership, socialism also destroys the barriers inherent in capitalism which bar the way to an increase in the productivity of labour. It makes objectively necessary and possible a steady increase in the productivity of labour in accordance with the demands of the basic economic law of socialism.

A steady rise in the productivity of labour is an essential condition for the constant increase of socialist production and the fullest satisfaction of the constantly growing needs of the people. The uninterrupted growth of socialist production occurs, firstly, owing to a rise in the productivity of labour and, secondly, owing to an increase in the total number of workers engaged in material production. In the period between 1940 and 1954 the rise in the productivity of labour accounted for approximately 70 per cent of the increase in industrial production, and the increase in the number of workers for approximately 30 per cent. Thus, the rise in the productivity of labour is the chief and basic source of the constant rise in socialist production.

The systematic rise in the productivity of labour because it ensures a rapid increase in output, makes possible both an expansion of industry and an increase of consumption. A steady rise in the productivity of labour is also necessary in order to ensure the triumph of socialism in economic competition with the highly developed capitalist countries.

Socialism creates the conditions necessary for a systematic and rapid rise in the productivity of labour. Socialism eliminates the tremendous waste of labour connected with anarchy of production and economic crises of overproduction and ensures the planned, most rational use of the means of production and labour­power on the basis of constant improvement of techniques and organisation of labour. In the conditions prevailing under socialism, in contrast to capitalism, the working people are profoundly interested in the maximum economy of labour time and means of production since industry serves the interests of the people.

“The Soviet worker is directly interested in raising the productivity of labour, for he knows that it strengthens the canals power of the U.S.S.R. and raises the cultural level of the working people. The basis of the high productivity of social labour under socialism lies in the unity of interests of the state and the people." (G.M. Malenkov, “Report to the XIX Party Congress on the Work of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.", Russian edition, p. 45.)

All this testifies to the fact that the economic law of a steady rise in the productivity of labour operates in socialist society.

This law determines both the need far increasing the amount produced per worker and also the increase in the productivity of the whole of social labour.

It is essential for every worker in socialist industry constantly to increase in his own sector the productivity of labour by improving his use of working time and applying the most productive methods of work.

There is required, besides this, an increase in the productivity of the whole of socialist labour. Productivity of labour from the social point of view increases as a result of an economy of labour on a scale covering the whole of society, that is to say as a result of the best possible use of machinery and equipment, raw materials, fuel and other materials, an improvement in the location and utilisation of the resources of live labour, a more rational location of industry throughout the regions of the country, an improvement in the quality of output, etc. Thus, by bringing production of an article closer to sources of raw materials and areas of consumption, the expenditure on the labour of transporting the article is reduced and, consequently, an economy of the labour for society is effected. Similarly, higher quality of production, shown, for example, by an increase in the period of service of a particular article, means an economy of labour for society as a whole. Of great importance for a rise in the productivity of social labour is an increase in the proportion of workers engaged in material production compared to a reduction in the administrative and managing apparatus, and also an increase in the proportion of workers engaged in the basic production processes compared with the personnel engaged on subsidiary and auxiliary work.

The Sources and Reserves of a Rise in the Productivity of Labour

In administering the national economy, the Communist Party and the Soviet State make use of the law of a steady rise in the productivity of labour. The national economic plans provide for a considerable annual increase in the productivity of labour, as a major condition for a total increase in output. The Communist Party and the Soviet State mobilise the working people to strive for a steady increase in the productivity of labour in all branches of the nation’s economy, at every enterprise and in every production sector.

The economy of the U.S.S.R. has surpassed all the capitalist countries by the speed of its increase in labour productivity. The level of productivity of labour in the national economy of the U.S.S.R. is several times higher than the level of pre-revolutionary Russia.

During the years of the first Five-Year Plan the labour productivity in the industry of the U.S.S.R. increased 41 per cent, and in the second Five-Year Plan—82 per cent. The average annual increase in labour productivity during the first Five-Year Plan was 9 per cent and in the second Five-Year Plan—12.7 per cent. In 1940 the productivity of labour in the industry of the U.S.S.R. increased four times and—if account is taken of the reduction in the working hours per day—5.2 times compared with 1913. During the post-war period there has been a further increase in the productivity of labour. It increased in 1954 as against 1940 by 83 per cent in industry and 61 per cent in building.

During the period between 1928 and 1954 the productivity of labour in industry increased more than six times, in building and railway transport approximately four times. Productivity of labour in collective and State farms was approximately three times as high as in pre-revolutionary agriculture. From the point of view however, of the tasks of communist construction and economic competition with the advanced capitalist countries, and also of the opportunities available, the level of the productivity of labour reached is insufficient. As regards productivity of labour in industry, the U.S.S.R. has overtaken the leading capitalist countries of Europe but lags behind the United States of America. In the practical working of industry, agriculture, transport, building, there are still serious shortcomings which have not been eliminated and which hinder the full utilisation of the advantages of the socialist system for increasing the productivity of labour, and there are still enormous unutilised reserves.

Although the plan for the first four years of the fifth Five-Year Plan (1951-4) of industrial output was overfulfilled, the plan for the productivity of labour was not completely fulfilled. Many industrial enterprises systematically fail to fulfil the plans for productivity of labour. In the post-war period the rise in the productivity of labour lagged behind the rise in real wages. During the 1951­4 period the productivity of labour in industry rose 33 per cent while real wages rose 37 per cent. Side by side with the total increase in the productivity of labour there were certain industries which in this respect lagged far behind or even marked have. Thus, for instance, the productivity of labour for the whole of industry in 1954 increased 83 per cent compared with 1940, but the productivity of labour in the coal and timber industries was only a little above the 1940 level.

Utilisation of all available reserves will enable new, important successes to be gained in further increasing the productivity of labour.

In socialist society an increase in the productivity of labour is due primarily to the national economy being systematically provided with new and ever more perfect techniques, to an, intensification of the technical equipment of labour. The perfecting of techniques and a steady rise in the productivity of labour are possible only on the basis of the law of the priority growth of the production of means of production, the development of heavy industry.

During four years of the fifth Five-Year Plan, the industry of the U.S.S.R. received annually on the average new equipment to the value of 26,000 million roubles. By the beginning of 1955 the total number of metal-cutting lathes in the national economy of the U.S.S.R. had increased 2.4 times compared with 1940. The electrical equipment of labour in large-scale industry had increase 30 per cent in 1954 compared with 1950, and was twice as great as in 1940.

However, in the practical carrying out of economic development the existing possibilities of technical progress and of raising the productivity of labour are not being sufficiently utilised.

The rate at which improvements in machinery, mechanisms and technological processes are being made lags behind the rate of development of production and the requirements of the national economy. Many types of machinery and equipment made in Soviet enterprises are inferior in quality and technical standard to the best types produced abroad.

Insufficient application is made of complex mechanisation and automation of production, there are disparities in the level of mechanisation of interlinked production processes. Where there is a high level of mechanisation of the main industrial processes, as a general rule the auxiliary processes are still very little mechanised. But the higher the level of mechanisation of the main sectors and links and the higher their productivity labour, the more labour-power is required for the non-mechanised sectors and operations (e.g., the loading of coal). Hence large amount of manual labour in industry and other branches of the national economy.

Thus, the proportion of workers operating by hand is as follows: in the lumbering industry— 68 per cent, in coal-mining—44 per, in the iron and steel industry—35 per cent, in building—68 per cent. The labour of these workers is of low productivity. As a of this, what is gained from mechanisation and the rise in the productivity of labour in the main production processes is to a considerable extent lost owing to the use of manual labour on auxiliary work.

To ensure a further considerable rise in the productivity of labour, there must be a sharp increase in the rate at which industry is technically equipped, by means of constant improvements in machinery, equipment and technological processes, and the wide development of complex mechanisation and automation of production processes.

Constant improvement in the organisation of production is of tremendous importance for raising the productivity of labour. Improved organisation of production within the enterprise involves combating last-minute spurts, introducing even working according to schedule, the use of the uninterrupted even-flow method and the carrying through of other measures. Improvement in the organisation of industry within the frame-work of a given branch and on a country-wide scale requires wide use of specialisation and co-operation in production and, in connection with it, the unification and standardisation of parts and assemblages and improvements in the geographical location of industry, that is to say, primarily the utilisation of the advantages of planned, social division of labour. By using the advantages of social division of labour on both a branch and territorial scale, the labour expended on the production and transport of commodities can be reduced. Extensive specialisation of industrial enterprises with the application of mass even-flow production makes it possible to organise the production of articles on a mass scale, to introduce advanced techniques widely, to rationalise the organisation of industry and so to raise the productivity of labour to a considerable extent.

The economic importance of specialisation in production can be shown by the following data. At a specialised factory the cost of producing a 12X60 mm. bolt is ten kopecks, but in mechanised workshops making consumer goods it is 1 rouble 40 kopecks, i.e., 14 times more expensive. Further, the specialised factory greatly economises metal in the manufacture of the bolts. In the automobile industry the production of a standard tool costs four times as much as it does at a specialised tool works.

The socialist organisation of labour based on conscious discipline and comradely co-operation among the workers and payment for labour according to quantity and quality provides great opportunities for raising the productivity of labour. Further improvement in the organisation of labour—combating stoppages, strengthening discipline, bringing more order into industry, improving the fixing of norms and payment for labour—is a great reserve for raising the productivity of labour.

A constant increase in the level of technical efficiency and industrial skill of the workers is an important condition for a steady rise in the productivity of labour. Modern techniques require highly-skilled workers capable of making and operating complicated machines.

To ensure a steady rise in the productivity of labour constant attention must be paid to training cadres, improving the quality of training to the utmost in accordance with the rapid progress of technical equipment and the technology of production.

Under socialism, the development of the creative initiative of the workers in improving technique and organising production, which finds expression in socialist emulation, is a powerful driving force in raising the productivity of labour. For a further rise in labour productivity, socialist emulation needs to be more widely developed, the initiative of the foremost industrial workers and innovators must have the fullest support and their advanced experience should be persistently popularised in order that the achievements of the foremost workers may be mastered by the workers as a whole.


(1) Socialism has freed the workers fro~ exploitation and has replaced work in subjection to the exploiters by free labour for oneself, for the whole of society. Labour in socialist society has a creative character, and is organised in a planned way on a nation-wide scale. But labour in socialist society has not yet become life’s prime need for all people, and requires material incentive. Socialist societyexercises strictest supervision of the measure of work and remuneration of each worker.

(2) In socialist society, labour is an obligation and a matter of honour for every able-bodied member of society. In the socialist system of national economy unemployment has been abolished, and the right of all members of society to work has been put into effect. In socialist economy the continuous growth of production is accompanied by a steady increase in the number of employed workers and the raising of their cultural and technical level.

(3) In socialist society the economic law of distribution according to work is applied. This requires distribution of material wealth in direct accordance with the quantity and quality of work done by each worker, equal pay for equal work, irrespective of the sex, age, race or nationality of the working people. Payment for labour both in industry and agriculture is based on the requirements of this law.

(4) Socialist co-operation of labour is the co-operation of workers freed from exploitation, and linked with one another by ties of fraternal co-operation. It is based on the highest techniques, and characterised by conscientious discipline and a new kind of management combining one-man control with the broad participation and activity of the masses. Socialist emulation is a most important feature of socialist co-operation, and is a motive force in the development of the socialist economy.

(5) Socialism gives rise to a higher productivity of social labour than does capitalism. The steady growth of labour productivity is an economic law of socialism. Increasing labour productivity is a decisive condition for the continuous growth of socialist production and a rise in the welfare of the people.