chapter  9
44 Pages

The Transformations of the 1930s

Over the 1930s, the state capitalist class structure of industry returned to a more centralized form, resembling its initial appearance under war communism. Instead of numerous state capitalist surplus appropriators located in the decentralized industrial trusts of the NEP period, a relatively small number of officials appropriated the industrial surplus. The Council of Ministers centralized appropriation at the highest level of the state bureaucracy. The size of the surplus that the Council appropriated and distributed expanded greatly over the decade. More than ever before, capitalist surpluses appropriated in state industrial enterprises became the key revenue source for the Soviet state's expenditures. While class structures in agriculture still continued to finance (i.e., shift portions of their surpluses to) the state's seemingly insatiable appetite for revenues, agriculture's relative importance diminished in proportion to state capitalist industry's internally generated surplus value. I

First, industrial employment rose rapidly in the 1930s, fueled by a sustained burst of capital accumulation rarely equaled in the history of state or private capitalism. Secondly, managerial pressures raised the intensity of industrial labor. Finally, downward pressure on industrial workers' real wages combined with their rising productivity to reduce the value of their labor power. The dramatically enhanced surplus appropriated from workers in state capitalist industries opened new opportunities for the Council of Ministers to pursue its priority objectives. The centralization of appropriation and the rapid growth of industrial surpluses were the key changes within the enduring state capitalist class structures of Soviet industry across the 1930s.