Controlling Soviet Labour: Experimental Change from Brezhnev by Bob Arnot (auth.)

By Bob Arnot (auth.)

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Extra resources for Controlling Soviet Labour: Experimental Change from Brezhnev to Gorbachev

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This form of presentation, even though it understates the complexity and linkages involved, is useful for purposes of exposition and provides a framework which will be utilised over the next two chapters to analyse these questions. The central element of this analysis is the failure of the ruling group to achieve planned levels of economic growth, through the extraction of the socially produced surplus. This can be viewed as both the culmination of the process and its starting point from one time period to the next.

397). The USSR is viewed as a society moving towards 'social homogeneity' (Oblomskaya, Starakhov, Umanets, 1983, pp. 28-34). 1 illustrates, by defining the class structure in terms of only two classes, the appearance of homogeneity can be created and once again the ruling group disappears by amalgamation. From this perspective, therefore, the whole question of the surplus and exploitation disappears. In the process of constructing the homogenous Soviet society, the leading role of the party and working class is continually emphasised, and the otherwise harmonious picture is only clouded by peripheral problems which, it is argued, will be overcome with better management of social processes (Blyakhman and Shkratan, 1973, pp.

2; Haynes and Semyonova, 1979, pp. 36-72; Feldbrugge and Simons (eds), 1982, pp. 62-3) the workforce as a whole, or even sections of it, defined by trade, skill, industry or region, is relatively secure. The Soviet worker is protected in a manner incompatible with and unseen under capita- The Political Economy of the USSR 35 lism. There still remains a degree of dependency which is a function of the particular political economy of the USSR. However, this relationship, between the worker and the ruling group, is both a product of, and a cause of, the ruling group's insecure position in Soviet society.

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