The Soviet Economy – an Experiment that was Bound to Fail?

Vincent Barnett contrasts Marxist idealism with the changing economic reality in the USSR.

The collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR) at the end of the 1980s marked an inglorious end to the first ever nationwide attempt at the conscious creation of an entirely new economic system that was apparently built on non-capitalist principles of operational control. The existence of the USSR was a defining feature of international relations throughout most of the twentieth century, but it is sometimes forgotten that the real challenge that it represented to the West was first and foremost in the economic realm – as a competitor to capitalism itself. Consequently, this article reviews the most important intellectual origins of the economic system created under the banner of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia after 1917, the first steps in its creation, the hindrances that were encountered and the legacy that remains.

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