The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism presents one of the most interesting
Utopian Experiments in comparative political and economic history ---
the first decade of the Soviet experience with socialism (1918-1928).
The goal of this book is to get at the meaning of this experience for
comparative political economy today by using two methods of investigation
--- textual examination and intellectual history. This allows one to understand
the Soviet experience with socialism by understanding what the various
actors who made the history were thinking at the time.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Purpose and Methodology
Chapter Two: The Meaning of the First Decade of the SovietExperience
Introduction- Recent Interest in thc Soviets- The Standard View- Maurice
Dobb- E. H. Carr- Alec Nove- Stephen Cohen- Theoretical Issues of Socialism-
Theoretical Confusion- Denying Marx's Influence- The Critique of the Standard
Account- Logical Continuity or Historical Determinism- Conclusion.
Chapter Three: The Political Economy of Utopia Introduction-
The Economic History of War Communism- From Marx to Lenin- Ripeness and
the Rise to Power- Praxis and Catastrophe- From Imperialism to Socialism-
Utopia in Power- Utopia in Disarray- Conclusion.
Chapter Four: The Political Economy of NEP
Introduction-The Economic History of NEP - The results of NEP - Retreat
or Advance - Lenin's Theory of Capitalism - Lenin's Assesment and the
Failure of NEP - Conclusion.
Chapter Five: The Political Economy of Development Strategy
Introduction- The Ideological Background- The Economic Situation- The
Debate- Leon Trotsky and Industrialization- Preobrazhensky and Unbalanced
Growth in Industry- Lev Shanin and Unbalanced Growth in Agriculture- Bukharin
and Balanced Growth- Stalin's Rise to Power- Conclusion.
Chapter Six: Conclusion Marxism and Market Processes-
Soviet History and Soviet Reforms- Conclusion. Bibliography-Index.
"Peter Boettke has written what
must now be the major introduction to the ideas animating Communist economies.
Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, writing
in The Freeman (June 1991): 239-240.
".....a perceptive,....libertarian analysis of the
genesis of the Soviet economy. "
Professor of History, University of California at Berkeley, writing in
The Soviet Tragedy, p. 534.
"The author's contribution is
to bring the powerful insights of Austrian economics, most notably those
of Mises and Hayek, to bear on the interpretation and explanation of the
failure of Soviet-type political and economic systems to meet the aspirations
of their peoples. That spectacular failure does indeed show that Mises
was right about the dismal fate that awaits societies that attempt to
replace markets and private property with central planning and state property."
Gertrude e. Schroeder
Professor of Economics, University of Virginia, writing in The Cato Journal
(Winter 1991): 839-841.
"It is obvious that great historical
movements are rarely able to follow the inner logic of their ideologies,
that they have to respond to the exigencies of the changing situation
and consequently change themselves, sometimes losing their original identity
completely... But all this does not undermine the legitimacy of interpreting
the Bolshevik experiment in direct transition of communism as the culminating
phase in the history of Marx's communists utopia. From this point of view
(i.e., from the point of view of intellectual history) the first three
years of Soviet power (1918-1921) essentially constitute one period: the
period (to quote Lenin) of "a direct transition from the old Russian
economy to state production and distribution on communist lines,"
of "attempting to go over straight to communism." .... The merit
of stating is clearly belongs to Boettke."
Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, writing in Marxism and
the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom: the Rise and Fall of the Communist
Utopia, p. 363, and fn. 189.
"Peter Boettke's analysis --
the first comprehensive work by a follower of Mises and Hayek -- introduces
a bombshell into this [Soviet history] debate. His analysis stands the
traditional interpretation on its head: war communism was not a twisted
aberration imposed on the bolsheviks by events, but the result of a correct
understanding and application of Marxian doctrines and an attempt of realize
them in practice.... the Political Economy of Soviet Socialism is a brilliant
vindication of Ludwig von Mises's analysis of capitalism and market process....
The Political Economy of Soviet Socialism is important to the battles
going on today in the world. It should be translated into as many Soviet
and East European languages as possible. It should be heralded as a major
breakthrough in economic and historical analysis, the culmination of the
work begun by the great Ludwig von Mises back in 1920."
writing in Laissez Faire Books (December 1990): 6-7.