Social Scientist. v 8, no. 86 (Sept 1979) p. 30.

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Classes and Class Struggles in Russia under NEP


CHARLES BETTLEHEIM would have us believe that because of the emphasis placed on heavy industry by the Soviet leaders from 1925-26 to 1930 scant attention was paid to the problems of the consumption goods and small-scale industries, and uncontrollable inflation set in* The Soviet state did little to effectively control this inflation, and if prices were reduced at one stage, it was at the expense of the non-urban sector. All this goes down very well with his general attack on the Soviet leadership after Lenin's death, and it provides, seemingly, factual evidence for his contention.

As regards the argument that the production of consumption goods fell in the years 1926 to 1928, Bettleheim presents a rather biased interpretation.1 According to Bettleheim the production of consumption goods in the Census industries fell from 38 percent in 1926 to 18 percent in 1927 and 1928. He cites A Baykov and Garr and Davies as his source. Unfortunately, Baykov's work was not available to us at the time of writing, but from the reference which Bettleheim cites from Garr and Davies,3 it appears that Bettleheim has not examined it carefully. The table given by Garr and Davies does not speak of production of consumption goods in the Census industries as such but of "Vesenkha (Supreme Economic Council) planned industry" and of "All industry.'5 The crucial point, how-

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