chapter  10
15 Pages

The Debate on the Law of Value in the USSR, 1941–53

ByMichael Kaser

Three important economists notably contested Stalin's pronouncements on economic theory in the aftermath of the Second World War, Nikolai Voznesensky, Evgeny Varga and Vasily Nemchinov. Varga and Nemchinov were merely removed from their academic positions, with the latter contributing to the resuscitation of Soviet economics after Stalin's death. Voznesensky had initiated a Soviet economic reform according to principles that were conducive toward an empirical use of value and profit in planning. Nemchinov supported Liberman's proposal to re-introduce the concept of profit into economic management. Nemchinov's stand against Lysenko was only officially justified several months after Nemchinov death, the opinions advanced by Varga having been rehabilitated a few months previously. Soviet commentators implied that Stalin allowed Varga to disseminate his opinions as a provocation, no doubt directed against Voznesensky. By eliminating the progress made between 1943 and 1948, Stalin inflicted a serious blow to economics in the USSR from which it could not recover until after his death in 1953.