POLITICAL ECONOMY

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


Part III : THE SOCIALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION

B. THE SOCIALIST ECONOMIC SYSTEM

CHAPTER XL : THE GRADUAL TRANSITION FROM SOCIALISM TO COMMUNISM


The Two Phases of Communist Society

As has been confirmed by the entire history of mankind, society develops from lower to higher stages. Communist society, which is the final aim of the struggle for emancipation of the working people in all lands, is the highest and most progressive stage of social development.

Communist society passes through two phases of development: the lower phase. known as Socialism, and the higher phase known as Communism. In the first stage, communist society cannot as yet be free from the traditions and traces of capitalism, from whose womb it has emerged. Only the further development of socialism on the basis which it has itself created can lead to the second and higher phase of communist society. Consequently socialism and communism are two stages of maturity of the new communist form of society.

Social ownership of the means of production is the economic basis of both phases of communism. The predominance of social ownership determines the planned development of the national economy. Characteristic of both phases of communist society is the absence of exploiting classes and of the exploitation of man by man, of national and racial oppression. The purpose of production, both in socialist and in communist society, is the maximum satisfaction of the constantly increasing material and cultural requirements of the whole of society. The means of its achievement is the continuous growth and improvement of production on the basis of the highest techniques.

At the same time, the higher phase of communism differs in important particulars from the lower phase, in so far as it is a higher stage in the economic and cultural maturity of communist society.

Even at the stage of socialism, the productive forces attain a high level: socialist production develops constantly at high rates of growth and the productivity of social labour grows rapidly. But the productive forces of society and labour productivity are still insufficient to provide an abundance of material wealth. Communism presupposes a level of development of the productive forces of society, and of the productivity of social labour, which will provide this abundance.

As distinct from socialism, where there are two forms of social or socialist property—State and co-operative collective farm property—the complete predominance of one form alone, communist ownership of the means of production, Will be established at the stage of communism.

Owing to the existence at the stage of socialism of two main forms of socialist production—State and collective farm—commodity production and commodity circulation are retained. At the stage of communism, however when the predominance of one form of property and one form of production— communist—will have been established, there will no longer be commodity production and commodity circulation, and consequently the need for money will disappear.

While, at the stage of socialism, there is no longer an anti-thesis between town and country, between mental and physical labour there still exist essential distinctions between them. At the stage of communism these will no longer exist and only inessential distinctions will remain.

There are two classes in socialist society: the working class and the collective farm peasantry. They are friendly to each other but their status in social production differs; together with the working class and the peasantry, there is a social stratum composed of the socialist intelligentsia. With the abolition of the distinctions between the two forms of socialist property and the elimination of the essential distinctions between town and country, between mental and physical labour, the boundaries between workers, peasants, and intelligentsia Will be finally effaced. All will become working members of communist society. Communism is classless society. At the stage of socialism labour, freed from exploitation, is equipped with advanced technique and is a matter of honour. At the same time, complete mechanisation of all the productive processes has not yet been attained; work has yet to become a prime need of life; the careless attitude of some members of society towards their work has not yet been overcome; there is still a need for strictest supervision by society of the measure of labour and the measure of remuneration. At the stage of communism, complete mechanisation and automation of the productive processes will have been attained and labour will be transformed in the eyes of the whole of society from a mere means of life into a prime need of life.

Communism guarantees to all members of society the flowering of their physical and mental abilities. All members of society will be cultured and highly educated people, having the opportunity freely to. choose their occupations. Com­munism presupposes a further development of science, art, and culture on a scale hitherto unknown.

The high level of development, of the productive forces and of the productivity of social labour will guarantee an abundance of every kind of material and cultural wealth: which will make possible the. advance from the socialist to the communist principle of distribution.

"In a higher phase of communist society," wrote Marx, "after the enslaving subordination of individuals under division of labour, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labour, has vanished; after labour, from a mere means of life, has itself become the prime necessity of life; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly-only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!" (Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme", in Marx and Engels, Selected Works, 1950, English edition, Vol. II, p. 23.)

Such are the main distinctions between socialism and communism.

Elaborating and enriching the Marxist teachings on communism, Lenin formulated the basic principles for the ways of building communist society. Laying down the programme of the Communist Party, Lenin said:

"In commencing socialist transformations, we must clearly have in mind the aim towards which these transformations are, in the long run, directed; namely, the aim of creating a communist society, not confined merely to the expropriation of the factories, mills, land and means of production, not confined merely to strict accounting and control of production and distribution of products, but advancing further, to the realisation of the principle: from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." (Lenin, "Report at the VII Congress of the R.C.P.(B) on revising the Programme and changing the name of the Party", Works, 4th Russian edition, Vol. XXVII, p. 103.)

The Soviet Union possesses all that is necessary to build complete communism. It has, for this purpose, gigantic material resources and natural wealth, a powerful industry and a highly mechanised agriculture. A further powerful factor in accelerating the development of the Soviet economy towards communism is the creative participation of the masses, expressed in the socialist emulation of the whole people. The Soviet people is being led to communism by the Communist Party, equipped with the theory of Marxism-Leninism, knowledge of the economic laws of socialism and a scientifically based programme for building communist society.

The international conditions in which the building of communism is taking place in the U.S.S.R. have been fundamentally altered since the second world war. Whereas formerly the Soviet Union was the only socialist country, there is now a powerful camp of socialism numbering hundreds of millions of people. The formation of the camp of socialism has brought about a fundamental change in the balance of forces in the world arena and has created a new environment for the building of socialism and communism. In the People’s Democracies of Europe and Asia, the foundations of socialism, the first phase of communist society, are being laid. A decisive condition for the victory of socialism and communism in all the countries of the socialist camp is the further consolidation of the power of this camp, and the development of close economic, political and cultural co-operation of the peoples belonging to it.

But alongside the socialist camp there is the hostile imperialist camp. So long as this camp exists, there remains the danger of armed attack on the Soviet Union and the People’s Democracies by aggressive imperialist Powers.

Marxism-Leninism teaches that with the abolition of classes and class distinctions, in the higher phase of communism, the State will become unnecessary and will gradually wither away. But in this respect international conditions have to be considered. To the question—will our State remain in the period of communism as well—Stalin gave the following answer: "Yes, it will, if the capitalist encirclement is not eliminated, and if the danger of military attack from abroad is not abolished, although naturally, the forms of our State will again change in conformity with the change in the situation at home and abroad.

"No, it will not remain and will wither away if the capitalist encirclement is eliminated and is replaced by a socialist encirclement." (Stalin, "Report to the XVIII Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B)", Problems of Leninism, 1953, English edition, p. 797.)

The Socialist State is necessary until the danger of attack on the U.S.S.R. and other countries of the socialist camp by imperialist States has been eliminated. Until then, while carrying on a consistently peaceful policy, the Soviet Union and the other countries of the socialist camp must at the same time be ready to repel any hostile attack from without. This requires that the Socialist State be strengthened in every possible way, the economic power of the country increased and its defensive capacity ensured.

The transition to communism cannot be seen as an instantaneous act. It takes place gradually, through an all-round development of the foundations and principles of socialism. Completing the construction of socialist society means at the same time making the gradual transition from socialism to communism.

The gradual transition from socialism to communism does not exclude the possibility of revolutionary leaps in the development of technique, the economy, science and culture. For example, the discovery of new sources of power and new kinds of raw material and the introduction of new technical inventions into production give rise to a real technical revolution. The transition from two forms of social ownership to uniform communist ownership of the means of production, from the socialist principle of distribution according to work done to the communist principle of distribution according to need will mean profound qualitative changes in the economy and in the whole life of society.

The law of transition from an old qualitative state of society, to anew one through an explosion, which necessarily applies to a society divided into antagonistic classes, is not binding at all upon a society which is without antagonistic classes, as is the case with socialist society. The material and cultural prerequisites of communism are formed step by step as the productive forces of socialist society develop, as its wealth and culture grow, as social ownership of the means of production is strengthened and increased, and as the masses are educated in the spirit of communism.

This does not mean that the development of society along the road to communism takes place without internal contradictions having to be overcome. These contradictions, however, as already mentioned, are not antagonistic in character. The Communist Party and the Soviet State, knowing the economic laws of society’s development and relying upon them, are able in good time to reveal the contradictions as they arise and take measures to solve them.

The Basic Economic Task of the U.S.S.R.

The Soviet Union is a mighty industrial power. In the tempo of development of its industry the Soviet Union is ahead of all the capitalist countries. In the overall amount of industrial production, in the volume of production of such decisive "branches of the national economy as the production of pig-iron and steel, the output of coal and the output of electrical power, the U.S.S.R. is ahead of all capitalist countries except the U.S.A., and holds second place in the world.

However, the task, laid down by V.I. Lenin, of overtaking and outstripping economically the most highly-developed capitalist countries, has not yet been fulfilled. A country’s economic might is determined not by the volume of production generally, but by the volume of production taken in connection with the numbers’ of the population, that is, calculated per head of population. Together with this, the amount of industrial production and especially of heavy industrial production, is of decisive significance.

The basic economic task of the U.S.S.R. consists in overtaking and outstripping economically, that is, in production (and, first and foremost, industrial production) per head of population the most highly developed capitalist countries of Europe and the U.S.A. "Only if we outstrip the principal capitalist countries economically can we reckon upon our country being fully saturated with consumers’ goods, on having an abundance of products, and on being able to make the transition from the first phase of communism to its second phase." (J. V. Stalin, "Report to the XVIII Congress of the C.P.S.U. (B)", Leninism, 1940, English edition, p. 634.)

The struggle to fulfil the basic economic task of the U.S.S.R. is of decisive significance for the building of communism, for the victory of the socialist system of economy in economic competition with the capitalist system. The decisive advantages in this competition between two opposing systems lie with the socialist system of economy. The advantages possessed by the socialist system of economy make it. possible to solve the basic economic task in an historically very short space of time.

To fulfil the basic economic task it is necessary firmly to ensure an uninterrupted advance of the whole of social production, with priority for the growth of the production of means of production.

In order to ensure continuous extension and improvement of production on the basis of advanced technique an enormous increase of production capacity is required in all branches of the national economy, and above all in heavy industry.

This increase in production capacity is brought about by the capital construction of socialist enterprises, based on the most up-to-date achievements of science and technique, the technical reconstruction of existing factories and works, replacement. of obsolete equipment by new, more productive equipment, modernisation of obsolete equipment, and full and rational utilisation of existing machinery and mechanisms.

To ensure technical progress in all branches of the national economy the Soviet Union possesses a large body of engineers, scientists and skilled workers, a highly-developed heavy industry and up-to-date engineering industry, and a large-scale socialist agriculture. Technical progress in the U.S.S.R. is being realised in conditions of increasing co-operation with the countries of the socialist camp. The exchange of technical experience with other foreign countries is also being extended.

It must not be forgotten that in the capitalist countries, too, technique is not marking time. Under the impact of the arms drive, competition and the pursuit of maximum profits by the capitalists, considerable advances in the technique of production are taking place in a number of branches of the economy in the capitalist countries, and there is technical progress there. The task is, by utilising the advantages of the socialist system of economy, to surpass the achievements of foreign science and technique. The struggle for technical progress demands resolute overcoming of all manifestations of sluggishness, conceit and complacency, and bold introduction into production of everything new and progressive that is offered by science and by innovators of production in the sphere of technical improvement.

Successful fulfilment of the basic economic task of the U.S.S.R. presupposes as its decisive condition an uninterrupted growth in the productivity of labour in all branches of the national economy. "Communism", wrote Lenin, "is the higher productivity of labour—compared with that existing under capitalism of voluntary class-conscious and united workers employing advanced technique." (V.I. Lenin, "A Great Beginning", Selected Works, 1950, Vol. II, Part 2, p. 231.) The tempos of the growth of the productivity of labour in the U.S.S.R. are higher than in capitalist countries. This has made it possible to catch up with the level of productivity of labour in the advanced capitalist countries of Western Europe. But the Soviet Union is still behind the U.S.A. in this respect. To will the victory in economic competition with capitalism it is necessary not only to overtake but also to surpass the advanced capitalist countries in the level of productivity of labour.

The Creation of the Material Production Basis of Communism

The material production basis of Communism which is being created in the U.S.S.R. is large-scale machine production in town and country, based on electrification of the entire country, complex mechanisation and automation, all-round application of chemical processes, and wide application of atomic power for the national economy.

Lenin showed that, at the stage of communism, electrification of the entire national economy would provide industry and agriculture with their technical basis. "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country." (Lenin, "The Work of the Council of People’s Commissars. Report Delivered at the VIII All-Russian Congress of Soviets", Selected Works, I2-vol. edition, Vol. VIII, P.276.) This means that industry, transport, and agriculture will be switched over to a new and higher technical basis, associated with electrification.

Electrification of the entire national economy is the characteristic feature of the material production basis of communism. With the gradual transition from socialism to communism, electrification is being undertaken on a huge scale. The construction of the largest hydro-electric stations in the world is witness to this.

The socialist planned economy is securing the creation of a single high-voltage network, connecting the numerous power-stations in the various economic regions. The electric power-system of the U.S.S:R. is entering a new phase of development. The coming into operation of the Kuibyshev and Stalingrad hydro-electric stations, together with the transmission line linking these stations with Moscow, the Urals and the Donbas, will mean a tremendous step forward in the creation of a single mighty power-system on the territory of the European part of the U.S.S.R. The grid system, i.e., the inclusion of separately-operating power-stations in a single network, enhances the reliability of the power-supplying the various parts of the country and improves the utilisation of power capacities.

As a necessary condition for creating the material production basis "of communism, electrification of the entire national economy is inseparably linked with the all-round mechanisation all labour operations, the automation of production and use of chemicals, and the application of the latest technical achievements.

The putting into effect of all-round mechanisation leads to the replacement of manual labour by mechanised labour, to a rise in the cultural and technical level of the workers and to an increase in the productivity of labour. All-round mechanisation is the prerequisite for going over to automation of production and of the direction of technological processes, and in the last analysis to the creation of an automatic system of machinery in all branches of production.

All-round automation of production means a higher level of development of large-scale machine production and constitutes a characteristic feature of the material production basis of communism. It leads to the replacement of unskilled labour by skilled, and provides the technical basis for finally abolishing the essential distinctions between mental and physical labour. The transition from partial automation of production processes to an automatic system of machines ensures an enormous increase in the productivity of labour.

The creation of enterprises with complete complex mechanisation and automatic production lines of machine tools, as well as of automatic factories, is among the achievements of the Soviet engineering industry.

The automation of already-operating hydro-electric stations has been carried out in the U.S.S.R. Hydro-electric stations under construction are all to be automatically operated. The control of many power-stations is exercised from a distance by means of telemechanisms. In metallurgical enterprises newly-devised rolling-mills, tube-mills and blooming-mills which are mechanised, with automatic controls, are in use. Automatic control of locks is being introduced in hydro-technical installations. Automatic factories for the production of concrete have been built, in which the automation of production embraces all processes, beginning with the feeding-in and weighing of the raw materials and ending. with the emergence ofthe finished concrete.

If, at the present time, automation of labour processes is no more than a herald of the new technical basis of communism, in time this great achievement of science and technique will be introduced into all branches of production.

A very great revolutionary transformation in the material production base is taking place in connection with the wide application of atomic power in production. The discovery of methods of obtaining and utilising the energy within the atom is the highest point reached in the present stage of development of science and technique. This discovery signifies the approach of a new scientific, technical and industrial revolution which will by far exceed in importance the industrial revolutions of the past. A practical solution of the problem of utilising this new form of energy for peaceful purposes has been found in the U.S.S.R. One of the most important ways of using atomic fuel is the production of electric power by atomic power-stations. In the summer of 1954, constructed by Soviet scientists and engineers, the first industrial power-station to use atomic energy, with an effective capacity of 5,000 kw., was put. into service; it began to provide current to industry and agriculture in the neighbouring. districts. Soviet scientists. and engineers are working on the creation of industrial atomic power-stations with a capacity of 50,000-100,000 kw.

Atomic power-stations enable a colossal amount of labour, fuel and transport to be saved. The atomic industry of the U.S.S.R; provides science and technique with radioactive elements which are already being used on an ever wider scale in industry, agriculture and medicine. In industry, radioactive substances are used to determine the quality of and reveal any defects in various kinds of material, to facilitate automatic control, to assist in prospecting for minerals, etc. By using these substances biologists are enabled to carry on research into various aspects of the metabolism of animal and vegetable organisms and to devise new methods of increasing the yield of crops and the productivity of cattle. Radioactive equipment and preparations are successfully used in medicine to identify and cure a number of diseases.

The application of atomic energy to the production of material wealth, the further improvement of jet propulsion techniques, radio techniques, tele­mechanics, etc., are opening up unprecedented possibilities for improving production and raising labour productivity. All this is bringing about a vast acceleration in economic development, and is one of the decisive factors in , providing the level of productive forces necessary for advancing to the higher phase of communism.

The Means of Abolishing the Essential Distinction between Town and Country

The growth of the productive forces of socialist society will give rise to the necessity for changes in relations of production also. In the higher phase of communism relations of production will be based on uniform public or communist property in the means of production. The transition to uniform communist property requires all-round strengthening and further development of State (public) and co-operative collective farm property, and also the gradual raising of collective farm and co-operative property, in the future, to the level of public property. On the basis of uniform communist property the essential distinction between town and country will disappear.

The essential distinction between town and country, between industry and agriculture, between workers and collective farm peasantry, at the socialist stage, springs from the fact that industry is State (public) property, while agriculture has group, collective farm property. There is a considerably higher degree of electrification, mechanisation, automatisation and application of chemicals in industry. Despite the genuine cultural revolution in the countryside, the cultural and technical level of the rural population as a whole has not yet attained that of the urban population.

The essential distinction between town and country is being eliminated in the process of the building of communism. The decisive force in abolishing this essential distinction is socialist industry. Only the further all-round development of large-scale industry will enable the complex mechanisation of all branches of agriculture to be completed.

Socialist industry performs its transforming role in relation to agriculture primarily through the machine and tractor stations. These are the leading force in developing collective farm output. As the most important industrial centres in socialist agriculture, and as the vanguard of high agricultural standards, the machine and tractor stations are serving collective farm production on an increasingly extensive and complete scale. In this they have the aid of the latest techniques, full-time qualified engineers and technical personnel. Through the machine and tractor stations, the Socialist State guides collective farm development in its gradual advance from socialism to communism. The State farms are of growing importance as models of large-scale and highly mechanised agriculture. In this way, State public property is playing an ever-increasing role in the further growth of the whole of socialist agriculture.

Electrification is a powerful instrument for drawing town and country closer together. The great new hydro-electric stations will supply enormous quantities of electricity not only to industry, but to agriculture too. Large State power-stations are the foundation of rural electrification. Alongside these, however, extensive construction of small collective farm power-stations is in progress. The electric machine and tractor stations, using electric tractors and electric combines, ensure an extensive use of electric power in animal husbandry. Such stations are not only a new source of power for agriculture, but also cultural centres.

During the period of gradual transition from socialism to communism, the agricultural artel is the basic type of collective farm. Combining as it does socialised economy as the main foundation of the collective farm, with the personal subsidiary economy of the collective farmers, the agricultural artel conforms in the greatest degree, under socialism, to the interests of the State, the collective farms and the individual collective farmers. Enormous, but not yet fully utilised reserves of labour productivity and of increased wealth for the collective farms are still to be found in the artel. Aided by the M.T.S. and. equipped with advanced techniques, the collective farms and successfully developing their socially-owned economy, as the key to the creation of an abundance of agricultural produce.

As the socially-owned economy of the collective farms grows stronger and expands, the tasks of providing cultural and living amenities, and building dwelling-houses are being consistently carried out. The socialised economy of the collective farms will satisfy the varied personal needs of the collective farms ever more fully. With an abundance of agricultural produce, the socialised economy of the collective farms will be in a position to satisfy the needs of the State, the collective farms, and also the personal needs of the individual farmers. When this happens, it will no longer be profitable for the collective farmers to keep privately-owned cows and small livestock, or to cultivate potatoes and vegetables on their own household plots. Accordingly, the economic need to have a personal subsidiary holding will disappear.

The prerequisites for the conversion of the agricultural artel into a highly developed agricultural commune—the highest expression of the collective farm movement—will gradually come into existence with the further consolidation and development of the material production basis of collective farm production.

"The future communes will arise out of developed and prosperous artels. The future agricultural commune will arise when the fields and farms of the artel have an abundance of grain, cattle, poultry, vegetables, and all other produce; when the artels have mechanised laundries modern kitchens and dining rooms, mechanized bakeries, etc.; when the collective farmer sees that it is more to his advantage to get meat and milk from the collective farm’s meat and dairy department than to keep his own cow and small livestock; when the woman collective farmer sees that it is more to her advantage to take her meals in the dining room, to get her bread from the public bakery, and to have her linen washed in the public laundry, than to do all these things herself. The future commune will arise on the basis of a more developed technique and of a more developed artel, on the basis of an abundance of products." (Stalin, "Report to the XVII Congress of the C.P.S.U. (B)", Works, Vol. XIII, P.360.

The process whereby the artel will grow into the commune will take place as the necessary material prerequisites are created, and as the collective farmers themselves become convinced of the need for it.

The abolition of the essential distinction between town and country does not in any way mean a reduction in the role of the great towns. The planned location of industry throughout the country, and the sating of industrial enterprises closer to the sources of raw materials, are accompanied by the founding of new towns. As centres of the highest development of material and spiritual culture, as centres of large-scale industry, the towns will facilitate the levelling-up of living conditions in town and country. The progressive role of the socialist town as the standard-bearer and pioneer of the latest modern scientific and cultural achievements is constantly increasing. Meanwhile the appearance of the old towns is being fundamentally changed. The purpose of the socialist reconstruction of the towns is to eliminate overcrowding and improve the health conditions of urban life by providing green belts and utilising every modern municipal development.

Transport, too, has to play an important part in abolishing the essential distinction between town and country. Transport binds the industrial centres and agricultural districts into a single whole. The development of rail, road, water and air transport, the transmission of electric power over great distances, the improvement and widespread extension of radio and television, are all important ways of bringing town and country, economically and culturally, closer together. Thanks to these scientific and technical achievements, the rural population acquires the same opportunities for enjoying all the advantages of culture as that of the towns.

So long as there are two basic production sectors in the national economy, State and collective farm, commodity production and commodity circulation are inevitably retained and at the same time successfully utilised by the Socialist State in building communism. Commodity production, and the economic categories associated with it, will only wither away With the advent of uniform communist property.

With the disappearance of commodity production, at the higher phase of communism, the various forms of value and the law of value will also disappear. The quantity of labour expended in the manufacture of a product will be measured not in a roundabout way through the medium of the various forms of value, as is the case in conditions of commodity production, but straight-forwardly and directly by the quantity labour-time expended on production.

"Labour-time will always remain, even when exchange value has disappeared, the creative essence of wealth and standard of the cost required to produce it." (K. Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, Russian edition, 1936, vol. III, p. 198.)

The friendly alliance of the workers and peasants will be increasingly strengthened during the period of the completion of the building of socialist society and gradual transition from socialism to communism. Both these classes have the same root interests and the same goal—the building of communism. The establishment of communist ownership of the means of production will form the basis for the final obliteration of the boundaries between the working class and the collective farm peasantry.

With the disappearance of the essential distinction between town and country at the stage of communism, there will none the less be retained a certain inessential distinction between them.

This arises from specific features of industrial and agricultural production respectively, as for example the seasonal nature of agricultural work, connected with the natural processes of growth and ripening of plants, the limited time available for using agricultural machinery, etc.

The Means of Abolishing the Essential Distinction between Mental and Physical Labour

For the advance to communism it is essential to attain such a cultural growth of society as will provide for the full and all-round development of man’s physical and spiritual abilities.

After the abolition of the antithesis between physical and mental labour, the problem has arisen of abolishing, in the course of communist construction, the essential distinction between them which obtains in the phase of socialism. This essential distinction is that the majority of workers are still on a lower cultural and technical level than engineers and technicians; the majority of collective farmers are on a lower level than agronomists.

Meanwhile technical improvements in industry and agriculture — electrification, complex mechanisation, application of chemicals, etc.— increasingly demand of the worker a high level, both of general education and also in the specialised fields of engineering, technology, or agronomy. The level of productivity of social labour cannot be attained essential for the transition to communism without this. Hence follows the objective necessity for a rapid cultural growth of society and for the abolition of the essential distinction between physical and mental labour.

The essential distinction between physical and mental labour is being abolished by raising the cultural and technical level of workers to that of engineers and technicians, and of collective farmers to that of agronomists.

Socialist emulation, in which the overwhelming majority of the working class and the collective farm peasantry participate, plays a tremendous part in abolishing this distinction. Increasingly large numbers of workers are completely mastering modern techniques and technological methods, while the number of rationalisers and inventors is increasing. Broad strata of the workers are gradually rising to the level of engineers and technicians.

As early as 1935, in characterising the Stakhanovite movement as a new stage of socialist emulation, Stalin pointed out that it contained the seed of the future cultural and technical advance of the working class and opened up the path "by which alone can be achieved those high indices of productivity of labour which are essential for the transition from socialism to communism". (Stalin, "Speech at First All-Union Conference of Stakhanovites", in Problems of Leninism, 1953,

English edition, p. 667.) When the workers will have raised their cultural and technical level to that of engineers and technicians, and collective farmers their level to that of agronomists, a new and hitherto unprecedented rise in labour productivity will be achieved. This will provide an abundance of all forms of material wealth.

As the productivity of social labour grows, the economic conditions for the gradual reduction of the working day will be created. This in turn will enable the members of society to devote far more time and energy to acquiring knowledge and culture, and to the harmonious development of all their physical powers and mental abilities.

Universal compulsory polytechnical education is one of the conditions for eliminating the essential distinction between mental and physical labour. Lenin pointed out that poly-technical education must acquaint schoolchildren with the theory and practice of the main branches of production. Widening the horizon of the workers, equipping them with a knowledge of the principles on which modern large-scale production rests, poly technical education will enable them freely to choose their occupations.

The further cultural development of all members of society will be achieved through universal compulsory poly technical education, secondary technical and higher education, correspondence courses, and the creation at the place of work of a broad network of various courses and personnel training-schemes for the main occupations.

The development of the knowledge and culture of the workers and peasants to the level of engineers, technicians, and agronomists will denote the abolition of the distinctions between the workers and the peasants, on the one hand, and the intelligentsia on the other.

Socialist society has achieved great successes in raising the well being of the people. But in order to secure the all-round cultural growth of the working people, necessary for the transition to communism, there must be a fundamental improvement in housing conditions, and the real wages of manual and clerical workers and real incomes of collective farmers must be considerably raised. This can only be achieved by a further rapid growth of production and increased labour productivity.

The all-round development of the productive forces and of culture will finally dispose of unskilled and arduous manual labour. The old division of labour, associated with the life-long attachment of workers to one particular occupation, will disappear.

The elimination of the old division of labour does not in any way mean, however, that communism denies the need for division of labour. The building of communism demands the training of qualified and versatile specialists in all fields of production, science, and technique.

All members of communist society will possess the engineering and technical training necessary for operating the highest techniques and complex productive processes. Besides producing material wealth they will be able to engage in the arts and sciences too. The abolition of the essential distinction between mental and physical labour does not mean that every distinction between these two forms of work will disappear. A certain distinction, although of an inessential kind, connected with the specific differences between the fields of production, science and culture will none the less remain.

The communist upbringing of the working people is of enormous importance for the transition to communism. Its fundamental task is the education of a new man, for whom work will become a prime necessity of life. In depicting labour in communist society, Lenin wrote:

"Communist labour in the narrower and stricter sense of the term is labour performed gratis for the benefit of society, labour performed, not as a definite duty, not for the purpose of obtaining a right to certain products, not according to previously established and legally fixed rates, but voluntary labour, irrespective of rates, labour performed without expectation of reward, without the condition of reward, labour performed out of a habit of working for the common good, and out of a conscious realisation (become a habit) of the necessity of working for the common good-labour as the requirement of a healthy organism. (Lenin, From the Destruction of the Ancient Social System to the Creation of the New", in Selected Works, 1950, English edition, Vol. II, Pt. 2, p. 339.)

Communism presupposes a high level of public spirit among the members of society. The seeds of the new communist relations already exist in socialist society in the attitude towards labour and public property, and in relations between man and man. In time, the observance of communist principles will become the natural and customary behaviour of a highly educated and cultured people. But it must not be forgotten that in socialist society the survivals of capitalism in the consciousness of man are as yet far from outlived that these survivals exist because man’s consciousness lags behind his being and because the reactionary forces of the bourgeois world in every way maintain and revive them. Hence follows the need to overcome the survivals of capitalism in the consciousness of man and for an enormous development in the cultural level and communist public spirit of the mass of the people. Of the greatest importance throughout the period of transition from socialism to communism is the struggle against remnants of the old attitude to labour and social property; against bureaucracy and survivals of the past in modes of life and in morals and against religious prejudices. Persistent and tenacious political and educational work among the masses the communist upbringing of the entire people, are essential to overcome these survivals.

The transition to the Communist Principle "From Each According to his Ability,
to Each According to his Needs"

The conditions for giving effect to the Communist principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" are brought into being gradually, as production increases and on this basis an abundance of articles of consumption is attained, as a uniform Communist form of property is established and a level of culture and public spirit among the members of society appropriate to communism is achieved. This principle means that in communist society each will work according to his abilities and will receive articles of consumption in keeping with the needs of a culturally developed individual.

The Socialist State creates the prerequisites for the higher phase, of communism by fully utilising the economic laws of socialism. In accordance with the requirements of the basic economic law of socialism, socialist production is developed and the living standards of the people rise, at steady and rapid rates. The use made of the law of planned development of the national economy constantly increases, and the methods of socialist planning are perfected. The national economic plans, drawn up for a prolonged period, prescribe the actual methods of creating the material production basis of communism, the ensuring of a productivity of labour higher than exists under capitalism.

In the transitional period from socialism to communism such economic instruments of planned guidance of the national economy as money, credit, trade, and economic accounting, which are bound up with the existence of the law of value, must be fully utilised in order to ensure a marked increase in social wealth. A steady rise in the material and cultural level of the working people is being achieved by the consistent application of the economic law of distribution according to work. The growth of labour productivity is accompanied by price reductions for manufactured and agricultural commodities. The real wages of manual and clerical workers, and the incomes of collective farmers, are being systematically raised. The working people are able to obtain increasing quantities of foodstuffs, clothing, household goods, etc. The successful fulfilment of the programme of big advances in agriculture and increases in the production of mass consumption goods, which is being carried out by the Communist Party and the Soviet State, is of very great importance in providing the prerequisites for the transition to communism.

In the U.S.S.R. the task has been posed of providing satisfaction of man’s scientifically ascertained food requirements.

"We must set before ourselves the task", said N. S. Khrushchev "of achieving a level of food consumption, based on scientifically testedstandards of nutrition, necessary for the all-round and balanced development of a healthy person." (Khrushchev, "Measures for the Further Development of Agriculture in the U.S.S.R.", Report to the Plenum of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U., 3 September, I953.)

A decisive increase in the. production of material wealth means that the wage level of manual and clerical workers, and the level of incomes of collective farmers, provide for an ever fuller satisfaction of the growing material and cultural requirements of the working people. With the growth of abundance of products there will come into being the prerequisites for the transition from distribution according to work to distribution according to needs. Throughout the period of gradual transition from socialism to communism great importance will attach to the development of trade, through which a growing mass of consumer goods will be distributed. Improvement of Soviet trade will build up that extensive machinery which will be used, at the higher phase of communism for the direct distribution of products according to needs, without commodity an money circulation.

Communism will ensure the all-round satisfaction of the varied personal requirements of the members of society, both by multiplying the quantity of articles of consumption and household use which become the personal property of individuals, and also by developing the social forms in which the needs of the population are met (cultural institutions and amenities, housing, sanatoria, theatres, etc.).

The Soviet Union is the first country in the world to have built socialism, and to be today successfully raising up the edifice of communism. The countries of People’s Democracy, using the experience of the Soviet Union, are carrying out the building of socialism, the first phase of communist society. Inevitably, the development of mankind will move along the road to communism. In tracing out the prospects of communist construction, Lenin wrote:

"If Russia becomes covered by a dense network of electric power-stations and powerful technical installations our communist economic development will become a model for a future socialist Europe and Asia." (Lenin "The Work of the Council of People’s Commissars. Report delivered at the 8th All-Russian Congress of Soviets", Selected Works, 12-vol. edition, vol. VIII, p. 278.)

The great example of the Soviet Union, advancing to the higher phase of communism, and of the countries of People’s Democracy, building socialism, shows the peoples of the entire world the road to liberation from capitalist slavery. Each new step taken by Soviet society towards communism confirms, more clearly the superiority of socialism over capitalism and implants in the working people of all countries confidence in the historical doom of capitalism and triumph of communism.

BRIEF CONCLUSIONS

(1) Socialism and communism are two phases of development of the communist social formation. Communism is the higher phase. It is characterised by a higher level of productive forces in comparison with socialism, uniform public communist property in the means of production, the absence of classes and class distinctions, the absence of essential distinctions between town and country and between physical and mental labour. From being a mere means of life, labour at the stage of communism will become a prime necessity of life for everybody. On the basis of an enormous rise in the level of productive forces and the productivity of social labour, an abundance of articles of consumption will be achieved and the transition effected to the communist principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

(2) For the transition to communism it is necessary to solve the basic economic task of the U.S.S.R., that of overtaking and outstripping the most advanced capitalist countries economically, that is, in production per head of population. The material production basis of communism must be brought into being, sufficient to provide an abundance of objects of consumption. The essential distinction between town and country must be abolished, on the basis of the creation of uniform communist property in the means, of production. This in turn requires all-round strengthening of the role of State public property in the means of production in the national economy as a whole, and in agriculture in particular, and the strengthening and development also of the socially-owned economy of the agricultural artel. The transition to communism further requires such a cultural development of society as will abolish the essential distinction between mental and physical labour, and will raise the educational level and technical knowledge of all workers to the level of engineers, technicians, and agronomists.

(3) The successful achievement of the gradual transition from socialism to communism in the U.S.S.R. is being brought about by the millions of working people, under the leadership of the Communist Party and the Soviet State, guided in their work by the knowledge and use of the objective laws of economic development. In socialist society, the seeds of communism are already present in production, in attitudes to work and to social property, and in relations between man and man. Communism is being built in the course of a decisive struggle against the survivals of capitalism in the consciousness of man. A necessary condition for the liquidation of these survivals is the communist education of the working people.

(4) The all-round strengthening of the mutual co-operation and fraternal friendship of the countries in the socialist camp is a decisive condition for the successful building of communism in the U.S.S.R. and of socialism in the People’s Democracies. The building of communism in the U.S.S.R. is of enormous international importance.