Facts on Google and facts in the minds

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Sat Dec 15 07:36:12 MST 2001

>>> mark.jones at tiscali.co.uk 12/14/01 06:10PM >>>
At 14/12/2001 21:59, Néstor wrote:

> > What are the material underpinnings, rather than psychological 
> characteristics, of > this defeat. Why _materially_ can't the Russian 
> working class overcome their new > oppressors ? What are the objective, 
> not subjective , barriers to revival ?
>A good question. Whoever can answer it will have the clue to revolution in 

Mark Harrison has suggested that the Soviet economy never recovered from 
WW2, unlike those of its past and future adversaries; growth never got back 
to the trendline of the 1930s. One reason for this was the economic costs 
resulting from the relocation of heavy industry to the Urals, to keep it 
out of harm's way during the war. see below.


CB: Mark, why was there an economic crisis if the annual growth remained 3.8% until the end ?


Mark Harrison:

Some of what is below:
First, outside the Soviet official statistical apparatus there was   much 
less real disagreement over Soviet growth rates than is   commonly 
supposed. Thus the last CIA estimate for annual   average growth in Soviet 
real GDP from 1950 to 1987 was 3.8 per   cent. The alternative figure 
offered by Grigorii Khanin for material   product growth over the same 
period was also 3.8 per cent.  Khanin's estimates of Soviet growth were 
higher in earlier years  and lower in later years (i.e. he suggested a more 
dramatic  deceleration). However, the basis of Khanin's figures remains 
less  transparent than that of the CIA's

Mark Jones:
The USSR finally collapsed when decades of overstrain produced irreversible 
breakdown in the industrial base and above all, the Soviet energy complex. 
This produced crises in the eastern bloc countries which could only be 
dealt with militarily. The Gorbachev leadership was not prepared to face 
down the west and was afraid to eliminate dissident movements in Poland, 
the GDR and elsewhere. Once Poland and the GDR were lost, the entire Soviet 
geostrategic position swiftly unravelled. Once the collapse penetrated 
inside Soviet borders (the Baltic states were the first to go) an 
unstoppable avalanche of change swept thru Soviet industry and society. 
Only the most severe and brutal repression, and the complete, forced 
mobilisation of society, might have stopped this accelerating collapse, 
butg there was no Stalin around to impose such harsh disciplines. The 
Soviet leadership simply gave up and with two years the country was swept 
by anarchy and crime, and the Soviet state itself ceased to exist in 1991. 
After this, there was no way back. It was impossible to unscramble the 
omelette, and everybody knew it. Soviet agriculture collapsed and the 
economy was ruined. There was literally nothing left to defend. The 
population became dependent on western food handouts and loans. The 
socialist project was clearly and comprehensively defeated, and the 
population had lost faith in it decades before anyhow.

Mark Jones


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