Soviet Economy and Society

Soviet Economy and Society

Soviet Economy and Society

Soviet Economy and Society

Excerpt

This book has grown out of an earlier work, Politics and Society in the USSR, published fourteen years ago. Reflecting the more open nature of Soviet society and the greater availability of information, there are now two books instead of one. Each book is self-contained. The present volume is in two parts: the first on the economy and the second on the social structure. It is intended for students of sociology, economics, social studies and Soviet society. The companion volume, State and Politics in the USSR, deals principally with recent history, Marxist-Leninist ideology, political institutions and processes and is intended primarily for students reading politics, political sociology, history and Soviet studies. Both volumes, however, are written in a style which should be accessible to non-specialist readers who wish to be acquainted with modern Soviet society, its history and contemporary structure.

Among the most crucial problems of writing a book about the USSR are those of selection and emphasis. Here the Soviet Union is depicted as a modernizing industrial society, and those past events and policies have been selected which elucidate the present and, hopefully, point to the future. I have attempted to describe the Soviet Union both in terms of its own theory and in accounts of Western writing on the subject. It is hoped that the book will enhance a more comparative approach to the study of society: not only to bring home to Soviet 'area specialists' the fact that Soviet society is in many ways like other industrial societies, but also to awaken the interests of sociologists and others to the problems of 'directed' social change and to the structure of a command or state socialist society.

The book has the following plan. In Chapter 1 are outlined the structure of the economy, the bodies involved in planning, the nature of management and trade unions, the role of the party in industry and the problem of control. In Chapter 2, the performance of the economy, the rate of economic growth and the levels of living standards are discussed and various approaches to economic reforms are outlined. In the final chapter . . .

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