ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Labouring the Obvious, but Missing the Essence

Labouring the Obvious, but Missing the Essence Saral Sarkar THE aim of this book is "to acquaint the readers with the economic progress of the Soviet Union in the post-war period". This and the title of the book already indicate that the author is not going to examine, but merely describe. Still his impressive bio-data might make one believe that he would give an objective description and, by an telligent choice of the material, leveal also the nature of the development. But Singh disappoints us. He describes mainly with the help of official production figures, plan targets, official percentage calculations and statements of Kosygin and Brezhnev, blissfully forgetting the well-known fact that statistips, especially official statistics (Singh has not worked out any himself), can conceal as well as reveal truth and that statements of politicians, especially of those in government, have to be taken with a pinch of salt. He is totally uncritical; his is the approach of the faithful , But why does Singh describe in such great detail something that is well- known and accepted by most people as fact? Everybody agrees that the Soviet Union is a superpower, and that its industry, science and technology das made great progress. When now there is discussion of Soviet economic development, it is mainly on the nature and not the quantity of that development, on the socio-political setup behind that development and on the nature of the distribution of the gains of that development "The present volume is devoted to her post-war economic progress ... which can not be isolated from the socio-political settings." But does Singh do that properly? He devotes a section to the 20th Congress (1956), but does not say a word about Khruschov's denunciation of Stalin. He mentions the economic reforms of the sixties as "measures for improving the methods of economic management" which "conformed to the requirements of a developed socialist society"; but he does not say a word about the contents of the reforms, nor why they became necessary. He also does not mention that profit (or whatever type, it may be) has played since then a certain important role in the Soviet economy. Rather, he cites the finding of Sidney and Beatrice Webb (1935) that profit-making has been abolished in the Soviet Union. Singh only speaks of the participation of the people in the day-to-day working of the Soviet political system; but he does not give any' concrete example. According to; Singh, "the working people are the co-owners of the means of production". It would be interesting to know the relative powers of the workers and the managers in the affairs of the firm

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