The Politics of Developed Socialism: The Soviet Union as a Post-Industrial State

The Politics of Developed Socialism: The Soviet Union as a Post-Industrial State

The Politics of Developed Socialism: The Soviet Union as a Post-Industrial State

The Politics of Developed Socialism: The Soviet Union as a Post-Industrial State

Synopsis

In his new study, Kelley looks at the emergence of what Soviet theorists call a developed socialist society and at the recent political, economic, and social developments, up to and including those of the early days of the Gorbachev administration, that are contributing to this newest adaptation of Marxism-Leninism. His central premise is that the Soviet leadership, having arrived at a turning point created by the impact of the scientific and technological revolution, has recognized the inability of existing policies and institutions to meet the needs of a rapidly maturing system. Kelley finds that, both as a theoretical stage in the evolution toward communism and as a reflection of changes in Soviet society, the concept of developed socialism presents a picture of political and social modernization that is in many ways the counterpart of the Western theory of post-industrial society. He also notes a new, seemingly more flexible Soviet approach to ideology as such. The Soviets, he observes, look upon the theory of developed socialism itself as being in an evolving state, treating it as an open-ended model of future economic and social transformation whose outlines are only gradually becoming discernable.

Excerpt

Developed socialism makes its most significant commentary on the evolution of the Soviet Union as a modern industrial state through its discussion of the economy. For reasons touching on the system's Marxist heritage and on the explicit and implicit agenda of the Brezhnev regime, the economy has emerged as the focal point for both reformist hopes and conservative fears. It is no exaggeration to say that the economy is the nexus around which all other political, social, and administrative aspects of developed socialist theory are grouped. As in previous chapters, analysis will deal with theory and reality, first setting forth the static features and transformations which characterize the economy in the developed socialist phase and then comparing the theoretical model with the present performance and likely future evolution of the economy.

It is easy to comprehend why Soviet theorists and leaders alike have focused their principal attention on the economic implications of developed socialism. Their decades-long compelling fixation with industrial growth and modernization has conditioned them to equate economic growth with progress itself, whether measured in terms of the rapid advance of basic industries and industrial output or in terms of technological modernization and increased factor productivity. the giantism of the Stalin era has been replaced by the scientism of the decade and a half of Brezhnev's rule; what has not changed is the theoretical need and the psychological significance of linking economic growth and modernization with progress. Indeed, as we have observed before, at the psychological level, developed social-

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