Some Historical Reflections on Planning and the Market

  • Maurice Dobb


In speaking of the period of the N.E.P. in the Soviet 1920s, Mr E. H. Carr has said that ‘the economy remained fundamentally a market economy’ and that ‘the connection between the State sector and individual agriculture through the market dominated all other economic relations’;1 with the implication (presumably) that it was upon the relation between industry and agriculture, as this existed at the time, that the character of the system as a ‘market economy’ depended. This was certainly the prevailing Soviet opinion at that period; and it was perhaps as an echo of this that Stalin shortly before his death, and referring to the kolkhoz agriculture of this later period, attributed the continuing survival of ‘commodity production’, or market relations, to the existence of two (different) forms of what he called socialist property in industry and agriculture.2


Economic Reform Market Relation Economic Mechanism Plan Preparation Technical Coefficient 
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  1. 1.
    E. H. Carr and R. W. Davies, Foundation of a Planned Economy, 1926–9, I (London, 1969) pt 2, p. 787.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Cf. V. S. Nemchinov, Ekonomiko-Matematicheskie metodi i modeli (Moscow, 1962) p. 69, mentions a figure of 10,500 as commodity balances handled by the ‘organs of material-technical supply and sale’.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    R. W. Davies, The Development of the Soviet Budgetary System (Cambridge, 1958) pp. 229 ff.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Michael Ellman, Soviet Planning Today, Occasional Paper No. 25 of the Department of Applied Economics (Cambridge, 1971) p. 185.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    D. Granick, Soviet Metal Fabricating (Madison, Wis., 1967) pp. 143 ff.Google Scholar
  6. In C. H.Feinstein (ed.), Socialism, Capitalism and Economic Growth: Essays Presented to Maurice Dobb (Cambridge, 1967) pp. 158–61.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    Edward Lipinski, in Polish Perspectives, XTV 9 (Sep 1971) p. 32.Google Scholar

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© Maurice Dobb 1974

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  • Maurice Dobb

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