Some Observations on Bukharin and His Ideas

  • Alec Nove


A full-length political biography of Bukharin is long overdue. A good bibliography exists,1 and some major work is in preparation.2 I shall not try in this paper to cover all the ground. He was a prolific writer, in economics, sociology and philosophy, and he was also an active politician, with views on the nature of Russia’s revolution, views that altered over time. He was also a journalist, a brilliant and witty speaker, a populariser of complex doctrines, and no mean caricaturist. All I can do is to set out some of his ideas on some matters which seem to me to be of interest. There are aspects of his thought which will not be touched on at all. For example, he argued at length with Rosa Luxemburg, in 1912–14, on the question of whether capitalism needs a non-capitalist sector for its survival, and I hear that an English translation of this controversy has appeared. He criticised Böhm-Bawerk, Tugan-Baranovsky, Struve, Trotsky, Skvortsov-Stepanov. All these things are well worth studying and analysing, but will hardly be mentioned here. I shall also have little to say about Bukharin the politician. This is a paper, not a large book.


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  1. 1.
    Sidney Heitman, A Bibliography with Annotations (Stanford University Press; California, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Peter Knirsch, Die ökonomische Anschauungen Nikolai Bucharins (Berlin, 1959).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Bukharin and Preobrazhensky, Azbuka kommunizma (Petrograd, 1919) pp. 195–6.Google Scholar
  4. 48.
    C. Bettelheim, Calcul économique et formes de propriété (Paris: Maspers, 1970) p. 9.Google Scholar

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© Alec Nove 1974

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  • Alec Nove

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