Material and Symbolic Privileges

  • Nicholas Lampert
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)


In this chapter we shall try to get a picture of the relative material position of the technical intelligentsia as compared with the industrial workers, and later add some remarks on the hierarchy of ‘ social honour’. The question of distribution of income and other material rewards is not to be confused— though it often is— with an analysis of social or power relations, which have been the main object of this study. The two sorts of phenomena (distributive and relational) may of course be closely connected since, for example, the pattern of income distribution is likely to depend on the power of a group to defend a certain standard of living, or to establish the criteria by which certain types of work will be better rewarded than others. But a statement about relative living standards is not a statement about social relations.


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  1. 1.
    TsSU SSSR, Differentsiatsiya Zarabotnoi Plat v Fabnchnozavodskoi Promyshlennosti SSSR za 1927 i 1928 (M. 1929)Google Scholar
  2. TsUNKhU SSSR, Zarabotnaya Plata Rabochikh Krupnoi Promyshlennosti v Oktyabre 1934 (M. 1935)Google Scholar
  3. A summary of the figures is given by M. Yanowitch, ‘Trends in differentials between salaried personnel and wage workers in Soviet industry’, Soviet Studies (January 1960), pp. 229–36, on which our account relies.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Eastman (1940), citing The New International (February 1936) (a Donbass coalmine).Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    See for example, a Central Committee decree of April 1930, ‘On measures for attracting ITR to production’; a decree of the Sovnarkom RSFSR, ‘On improving housing conditions for ITR’ (October 1930); a similar injunction on housing from Narkomtrud RSFSR (November 1930). (Inzh. Trud (1930), no. 7, p. 190; S. Lifshits, 0 spetsialistakh (1930), pp. 99, 165).Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    On the abolition of restricted stores for specialists, seej. Scott (1942), p. 72; V. Serge (1937), p. 184. Serge states that the stores for top officials continued ‘half—secretly’.Google Scholar
  7. 36.
    N. Bukharin, Culture in Two Worlds (1934), p. 18.Google Scholar
  8. 38.
    ‘It will no longer be practical to leave its [the industrial system’s] control in the hands of businessmen working at cross—purposes for private gain, or to entrust its continued administration to less than suitably trained technological experts … the material welfare of the community is unreservedly bound up with the due working of this industrial system and therefore with its unreserved control by the engineers, who alone are competent to manage it’ (T. Veblen, Engineers and the Price System (1921) p. 33).Google Scholar
  9. 39.
    Cited from O. Bauer’s Capitalism and Socialism after the War, in Za Ind. (29 November 1931).Google Scholar

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© Nicholas Lampert 1979

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  • Nicholas Lampert

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