By Wlodzimierz Brus
Booklet via Brus, Wlodzimierz
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Extra info for Socialist Ownership and Political Systems
The tempo and extent of nationalisation were in fact analogous in the USSR and the peoples' democracies, despite all the differences in conditions. In both cases expropriation of private owners was carried out quickly- by historical standards- at most within a few years of gaining power. In both cases, too, nationalisation was not confined to the basic means of production, but was extremely extensive, bringing the (legal) private sector right to the margin; the exceptions were East Germany in respect of non-agricultural sectors and Poland in respect of agriculture.
But, if this is so, the slighting criticism and accusations of formalism directed at democratic political institutions, particularly by the communist wing of Marxism, lose their basis. The situation is, in a sense, reversed: it is no longer the absence of a social basis that destroys the chance of political democratism, but the lack of political democratism that threatens the future of the social achievements, and thus a fortiori the possibilities of satisfying the need to enrich them further. We shall return to these problems, which have merely been indicated here, when discussing the two models of socialism we have distinguished- the etatist and the self-management.
This was presumably connected with the conviction that bureaucratism is to a considerable extent a product of economic backwardness and its social consequences, the numerical weakness of the working class and the low cultural level of the masses. This may explain, on the one hand, his sharply growing anxiety in the years 1922-3 (the entry of capitalism into a period of 'relative stability' and thus the shattering of the hopes that the soviet system would be put into effect in the developed countries, particularly Germany) and, on the other, the rather modest set of remedial measures which were supposed to suffice for the time being, since, in the longer run, rapid industrial development would simply remove the grounds of 'bureaucratic excrescences'.
Socialist Ownership and Political Systems by Wlodzimierz Brus