Economic Development and Growth under Socialism

  • J. Wilczynski


The postulate of rapid economic development has dominated Socialist thinking, policies and national life in general ever since the formation of the first Socialist State in 1917, certainly much more than in Capitalist countries. As viewed by the Party leadership, such development promotes the industrial and social processes conducive to the consolidation and perpetuation of Communist power, it offers the hope of a Communist cornucopia for the masses and it provides a solid basis for military strength. But above all, it has been regarded as a chariot for winning the economic race with the most advanced Western countries and thus as evidence of the superiority of Socialism over Capitalism as an economic and social system. ‘Socialism must prove’, it was emphasized in a Polish study on the subject, ‘that it can be a superior system to Capitalism not only from the standpoint of social justice (which is obvious) but also as a more progressive and dynamic system in respect of the growth of labour productivity, the efficiency of resources in general and of national income.... This rivalry represents the basic phenomenon of our era and it is likely to decide the fate of mankind.’1 Preoccupation with the maximum possible economic growth has overshadowed the national scene so much that it has sometimes been identified with an end in itself.


National Income Industrial Output Socialist Country Official Rate Capitalist Country 


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  1. 1.
    J. Kleer, J. Zawadzki and J. Gorski, Socjalizm—Kapitalizm (Socialism v. Capitalism), Warsaw, KiW, 1967, pp. 81, 85.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. P. Hardt, ‘Soviet Economic Development and Policy Alternatives’, Studies on the Soviet Union, vol. VI, no. 4, 1966, pp. 1 - 25.Google Scholar

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© J. Wilczynski 1972

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  • J. Wilczynski

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