In the economic debates of the mid-1920s, Bukharin argued that during the transition from NEP to socialism the ‘planning principle’ would struggle and cooperate with the ‘principle of spontaneity’ on and through the market, so that the market would be the sole regulator of the economy. But the doctrine was challenged in practice in 1928–9 by the use of coercion to obtain agricultural products from the peasantry, and by the pressures of inflation which disrupted the market. In April 1929 the party central committee rejected proposals from Bukharin and Rykov that the market should be ‘normalised’ and that ‘pressure in the sphere of trade’ should be removed, castigating them as ‘an interpretation of NEP in a liberal sense’, which would lead to ‘the renunciation of the control of market relations by the proletarian state’.1 Preobrazhensky’s rival doctrine held that two independent and hostile laws or regulators were in conflict in the Soviet economy, ‘the law of socialist accumulation’ and ‘the law of value’; the fate of socialism depended on the success of the former law in driving out the latter. At the plenum of the party central committee in April 1929, Stalin acknowledged that ‘tribute’ or surtax must be exacted from the peasants, and argued that there were ‘two aspects’ to NEP, ‘the controlling role of the state on the market’ and ‘freedom of private trade, the free play of prices on the market’; the former aspect was ‘more important to us’ than the latter.2


Political Economy Transition Period Socialist Economy State Sector Central Committee 
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© R. W. Davies 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Davies
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Russian and East European StudiesUniversity of BirminghamUK

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