Technological Progress and Socialism

  • J. Wilczynski


The economic system which prevailed in the Comecon countries1 up to about the mid-1960s was noted for a highly hierarchical structure of planning and management. In each country, five-year, annual and quarterly plans were determined by the State Planning Commission, in which the details of inputs, targets to be reached, the distribution of the output produced and even methods of production were all handed down the hierarchical ladder. These details were worked out by the Commission by means of input-output tables and finally compressed into a systematic ‘matrix of inter-branch balances’ showing the so-called technical coefficients of production (also known as technical norms of production or coefficients of material utilization, or coefficients of material intensity).


Technological Progress National Income Technical Progress Socialist Economy Fixed Capital 
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  1. 8.
    e.g. in Poland, even in the late 1960s, the enterprise incentive fund was reducible by 20 per cent for every 1 per cent of the under-fulfilled plan, and if the plan was under-fulfilled by more than 5 per cent no allocation was allowed to the incentive fund. S. Dulski, Jakość produkcji (Quality of Production), Warsaw, PWE, 1971, p. 299.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    For further details, see J. Wilczynski, Socialist Economic Development and Reforms, London, Macmillan, 1972, pp. 25–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    A. Bergson, Planning and Productivity under Soviet Socialism, New York, Columbia U.P., 1968, pp. 22, 49.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    M. Boretsky, ‘Comparative Progress in Technology, Productivity and Economic Efficiency: USSR versus USA’, in US Congress, Joint Economic Committee, New Directions in the Soviet Economy, Washington, G.P.O., 1966, Part II-A, pp. 202–3.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Ibid., p. 230. Further evidence of the USSR’s technological lag behind the West, as conceded by Soviet leaders in the late 1950s and early 1960s, can be found in E. Zaleski, J. P. Kozlowski, H. Wienert, R. W. Davies, M. J. Berry and R. Amann, Science Policy in the USSR, Paris, OECD, 1969, esp. pp. 496–501.Google Scholar
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    In S. Wasowski (ed.), East-West Trade and the Technology Gap, New York, Praeger, 1970, p. 92.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    e.g. H. Poplawski, Dopuszczalne ryzyko gospodarcze w przedsiebiorstwie (Permissible Risk in the Enterprise), Warsaw, PWE, 1970, p. 109.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    S. M. Yampolskii, F. M. Khilnik and V. A. Lisichkin, Problemy nauchno-tekhnicheskogo prognozirovaniya (Problems of Scientific and Technical Projections), Moscow, Ekonomika, 1969, p. 116.Google Scholar
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    A. Bodnar and B. Zahn, Rewolucja naukowo-techniczna a socjalizm (The Scientific and Technical Revolution and Socialism), Warsaw, KiW, 1971, p. 13.Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    The terms and concepts of ‘extensive’ and ‘intensive’ growth were originally introduced into Socialist thought by Marx, when he made a distinction between extensive and intensive extended reproduction. K. Marx, Capital, Mowcow, FLPH, 1957, vol. II, p. 320.Google Scholar
  11. 24.
    A. Plocica (ed.), Strategia intensywnego rozwoju gospodarki (Strategy of Intensive Economic Development), Warsaw, PWE, 1970, p. 6.Google Scholar
  12. 27.
    Conceded even in Socialist sources. See, e.g., N. V. Faddeiev, Sovet Ekonomicheskoi Vzaimpomoshchi (Comecon), Moscow, Ekonomika, 1969, p. 237; Rocznik statystyczny 1971, p. 659.Google Scholar
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    A. I. Notkin, Tempy i proportsii sotsialisticheskogo vosproizvodstva (The Rate and Proportions of Socialist Economic Growth), Moscow, IEL, 1961, pp. 107–8.Google Scholar
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    M. Marlewicz, Finansowanie postępu naukowo-technicznego w krajach socjalistycznych (Financing Scientific and Technical Progress in Socialist Countries), Warsaw, PWE, 1968, p. 171.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. Wilczynski 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wilczynski
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Central School of Planning and StatisticsWarsawPoland
  2. 2.R.M.C.University of New South WalesDuntroonAustralia

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