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From Marx to the MarketSocialism in Search of an Economic System$
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Wlodzimierz Brus and Kazimierz Laski

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198283997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198283997.001.0001

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The Objective of Catching Up

The Objective of Catching Up

(p.22) 3 The Objective of Catching Up
From Marx to the Market

Włodzimierz Brus

Kazimierz Laski (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

As the countries of ‘real socialism’ started their transition to socialism under conditions of immaturity in orthodox Marxist (and Schumpeterian) terms, the overriding objective of their revolution was to eliminate the retardation, economically as well as socially and culturally. The Soviet‐type modernization strategy included therefore: (1) very fast growth of industry through massive investment in new industrial capacity (2) selective, unbalanced growth, with resources directed to sectors and activities designated as ‘engines of development’ (3) maximal utilization of existing resources in defiance of conventional cost calculations.

This strategy achieved the initial objectives of rapid expansion of the industrial base, but consistently failed in respect of efficiency of growth, consumption dynamics, propensity to develop and absorb new technologies (‘conservative modernization’). This lack of success became increasingly evident with the passage of time, due to intrinsic inadequacies of the economic system.

Keywords:   five‐year plans, growth investment, industrialization, industry, Marxism, modernization, shortage economy, socialism, Soviet Union

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