chapter  6
'Least-cost' industrialization strategies: from Bazarov and Krasin to Kondratiev and Trotsky
Pages 16

Bazarov's 'Principles of plan formulation' (1928) put forward his most interesting ideas. Since the USSR was 'rich in latent potentialities, but poor in tangible capital', the most appropriate industrialization strategy would economize on capital by: (1) giving a high investment priority only to products (including some producer goods) which could readily be mass-produced for internal and external markets and offer the greatest scope for cost-reducing specialization, standardization, streamlining

and automation, instead of dissipating scarce resources over a wide range of ventures which would yield costly inferior products and, 'having absorbed a huge aggregate of capital outlays, would drag out a sickly existence' and 'fetter Soviet development for years to come'; (2) purchasing other essential products from abroad and from foreign subsidiaries or joint ventures operating in the USSR; (3) restricting import substitution to those special-purpose defence requirements which wouldn't otherwise be catered for in a peacetime economy and to products like cotton and synthetic rubber, for which it was reasonable to expect to achieve mass production at internationally competitive prices within a decade; (4) promoting interregional specialization; (5) generating reliable comprehensive conomic data, 'without which long-range planning lacks substance'; (6) assigning priority to projects promising the greatest increments in output per increment in capital input; (7) absorbing underemployed or seasonally idle peasant labour into labour-intensive industries and infrastructural construction projects, wherever and so long as this won't actually depress output per worker or per unit of capital employed; (8) electrification of towns and large villages to permit wide-ranging 'mechanization of crafts without transforming them into factory production' - thus obviating 'huge capital outlays' on constructing 'barrack-like' factories, high-rise buildings and crowded urban slums, 'the most glaring manifestations of the cultural barbarity produced by the crude technology of classical capitalism'; and (9) promoting state-supplied 'cooperative production among technologically renovated crafts' and a proliferation of vertically and horizontally integrated 'industrial-agricultural combines' as 'powerful centres of industrial culture in the heart of the countryside', thus reaping external economies on state and communal investment in rural infrastructure.