The Ussr That Could Have Been Lenins New Economic Policy

The Ussr That Could Have Been Lenins New Economic Policy



Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- ) was not the​ first to​ introduce Perestroika - the​ economic liberalization of​ the​ communist system along capitalistic lines.

During the​ Russian civil war (1918-1922) the​ Bolsheviks implemented what they called "War Communism" (1917-1921), the​ militarization of​ the​ economy. Between 1916 and​ 1920, industrial output plunged by more than four fifths. Grain harvests in​ both 1920 and​ 1921 disastrously dwindled, leading to​ widespread famine, claiming five million lives. a​ series of​ rebellions of​ sailors broke out, most famously in​ the​ Krohnstadt naval base.

To counter the​ party's loosening grip on power, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) introduced the​ New Economic Policy (NEP). Trade was liberalized, as​ were industrial and​ agricultural production. Peasants were allowed to​ sell surplus produce on the​ open market and​ taxes were made proportional to​ net output.

In stark departure from communist ideology, farmers could lease land and​ hire laborers. the​ state embarked on an​ ambitious privatization program of​ small and​ medium-size enterprises, though it​ maintained control of​ the​ finance, transportation, heavy industry, and​ foreign trade sectors (the "commanding heights", as​ they were called at​ the​ time).

In 1921-2, Lenin re-introduced money to​ re-monetize the​ economy which consisted of​ barter, quotas, and​ centrally issued economic directives. Within less than 7 years, production in​ many parts of​ the​ economy reverted to​ pre-revolutionary levels. Nor did the​ NEP die with Lenin. it​ continued for​ 4 years after his death in​ 1924.

But the​ policy was not without its faults.

NEP was characterized by inflation and​ the​ need to​ cap the​ prices of​ non-agricultural goods. Peasants hoarded grain for​ speculation purposes. a​ black market in​ goods was developed by Nepmen - private traders. Communist party General Secretary Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), reinstated agricultural production quotas in​ 1929, collectivized all arable land, and​ criminalized private trading in​ 1930. in​ 1928, he promulgated the​ first Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and​ central planning replaced market mechanisms. the​ NEP was dead.




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