Central Planning in Czechoslovakia: Organization for Growth in a Mature Economy

By Jan M. Michal | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
CONSTRUCTION

1. Importance of Construction in the Czechoslovak Economy

Over the period being studied, the importance of construction including assembly work increased considerably. The number of persons employed in construction and assembly work within the whole "building branch" of the national economy increased from 225,000 in 1948 to 361,000 in 1956 and to 365,000 in 1957, according to SRRC, 1958, Table 8.6; the official monthly publication of the Statistical Office, Statistické zprávy, gives somewhat lower data on persons employed directly in construction and assembly work: 324,000 in 1956 and 328,000 in 1957, decreasing to 327,000 in 1958. Over the ten years 1948-58, the number of persons working in the building branch increased by approximately two-thirds, as compared with the over-all increase of population working in the national economy of only 11 per cent.

The "investments" in the building branch (see Chapter 8, Section 2), at comparable 1957 prices, rose from 195 million Kčs in 1949 (in terms of 1953 currency units; see Chapter 7, Section 1) to 990 million in 1957.1 Fixed capital assets--the so-called "basic funds," at 1955 costs of replacement (see Chapter 8, Section 3)--increased, over the decade 1948-58, by 189 per cent, as compared with the average increase of basic funds of 41 per cent in the whole national economy (see Table 8. 11).

Labor and capital investments in building increased even faster than those in industry. But in contrast to industry, the proportion of construction in the Czechoslovak economy, measured, e.g., by the ratio of national income originating in building to total national income at factor cost,2 was much lower, in the base year 1948, than the corresponding ratio in developed Western European market economies. This was due, among other factors, to a rapid decrease in population in Czechoslovakia up to 1948 (see Chapter 1, Section 1), while the wartime destruction of buildings was relatively moderate (except in East Slovakia). Furthermore, lack of financial means, after the first postwar currency reform in 1945,

____________________
1
From SRRC, 1958, Table 6.4.
2
Under "Western" definitions (see Chapter 10, Sections 1 and 2), only 5.1 per cent in 1948.

-58-

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