MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE | Other Documents

    Charles Bettelheim

    The Transition to
    Socialist Economy

    Translated from the French by
    Brian Pearce

The Harvester Press Limited
© 1975
First published in France as
La transition vers l'économie socialiste
by François Maspero, 1968
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,djr@marx2mao.org  (August 2002)

The size of Bettelheim's Transition to Socialist Economy approaches 900k. Accordingly, I have prepared the text in three parts, the last of which consists of a relatively brief index. With respect to the latter, the subject headings and page references in the index are NOT linked to the various sections of the text. Nevertheless, I believe the index will still prove to be very useful once you have downloaded and saved all three parts of the book (in one folder) on your hard drive. To make use of the index you will need to use two browsers at the same time: one for viewing the text (say, Netscape), and the other for viewing the index entries (Internet Explorer). Using Netscape's "Find..." command, key words from the index can be entered, or, you can go to a specific page reference by entering "page x" (where "x" is a given number -- there must be a space between the word "page" and the number "x").

Contents

[ - Part 1 - ]

Preface to the English Edition

9

Forward

11

Chapter One   The problematic of the economy of transition

13

I
II
III


Present state of theory.
Proposals on terminology.
A fundamental feature of the transition period.

14
19
24

Chapter Two   The socio-economic framework and the   organisation of social planning

31

I
 
II
III
IV
V


A general survey of the mode of organisation of present-day
planned economies.
Some passages from Marx and Engels.
The nature of the problems to be studied.
The diversity of forms of property in the means of production.
The commodity categories within the state sector.


31
32
33
34
37


1
 
2
3
 
4

The commodity character of part of the production of the state
sector.
The requirements of calculation.
The conditions for the disappearance of commodity categories,
according to Stalin's Economic Problems . . .
Discussion of the preceding theses.


37
38
 
39
40

VI
 


Statisation, socialisation and taking over of the means of
production by society.


42


1
2
 
3
 

The social implications of state ownership.
Statisation, socialisation, domination of the productive forces
by society.
Adaptation of property forms to the level of development and
the character of the productive forces.

43
 
44
 
47


(a)
(b)
 

The more or less social nature of the productive forces.
The degree of socialisation of the productive forces and the
levels and forms of ownership of the means of production.

48
 
50

4
 

The production-relations within the state sector of the socialist
economy.


55


(a)

Planned obligations to buy and sell.

56



(b)
 
(c)

Centralised economic management of certain branches of
production.
Vertical integration of economic activities.


60
65

5

Economic subject and juridical subject.

71


(a)

Determining the economic subjects.

72


(1)
 
(2)
 
(3)
 

Internal structuring of economic subjects and working
groups.
Economic hierarchy and administrative or political
subordination.
Economic subjects, planning authorities and admini-
strative orders.


76
 
82
 
83

(b)

Contractual relations.

86


(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)

Contracts for buying and selling.
Labour contracts.
Credit contracts.
Co-operation contracts.

86
87
87
88

(c)
 
(d)

The nature of the decisions to be taken by the different
economic subjects and social authorities.
The different types of hierarchy.


88

6
 

Some problems of planning connected with the existence of eco-
nomic subjects


94


(a)
 

The role played by economic subjects in the drawing up of
plans.


94


(1)
(2)
 

Procedures for consultation and participation.
Some factors influencing the content of the draft plan
prepared by an enterprise.

95
 
97

(b)
 

Some contradictions or weaknesses in the present practice
of business accounting and planning at enterprise level.


98

(c)
 

The degree of exactness and the more or less obligatory
character of enterprise plans.


101


(1)
(2)
(3)

Investments without security.
The annual character of the plans.
The quantitative indices.

101
103
103

(d)
 

Methods used by the planning organs to lay down produc-
tion targets.


104

(e)

Methods of crrying out the plans.

105

Conclusion

107

 [ - Part 2 - ]  

Chapter Three   Forms and methods of socialist planning
   and the level of development of the productive forces


 
121

I
 
II


Delimiting the socialist sector from the private sector under the
dictatorship of the proletariat.
The organisation of the socialist sector.


122
124


1
2

Economic laws and socialism.
Property and production-relations.

125
127

III


The organisation of exchange.

130

 
page 7


1
2

Individual production and exchange.
Socialist production and exchange.

130
132

IV


The organisation of distribution.

137


Chapter Four   On some concepts of the transitional economy


143

I
II
III
IV
V
VI


Abstract and concrete.
Marxist analysis and pre-scientific "analysis".
The specificity of Marxist dialectics.
Dialectical synthesis and the factor of practice.
Theory and the contradictions of practice.
Science and ideology.

144
144
145
150
152
154


Chapter Five   Planning and production-relations


163

I
II
III
IV
V
VI


Possibility and reality.
Nationalisation, socialisation and the transitional economy.
The withering-away of the commodity categories.
The prospects of technico-economic integration.
Prices and calculations in labour-time.
Ownership and subordination.

167
169
172
175
177
178


Chapter Six   The problem of prices in the socialist countries
   of Europe (Some reflexions on a recent debate)


184

I
II
III


The price-system in the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1950s.
The initial concerns of the participants in the debate about prices.
The main proposals.

186
188
189


1
2
3
4

Prices based on value.
Prices based on "own costs".
Prices based on "prices of production".
Prices based on "world prices".

190
191
195
201

IV
V
VI
VII
VIII


Combinations of price-systems and "two-channel prices".
Some questions raised by concrete price-fixing.
Some consequences of the discussion about prices.
The problematic of the discussion on prices.
The theory of value and the planning of prices.

202
204
206
208
214


1
2

Value and socially-necessary labour-time.
Price and value.

214
218

IX
X


The specificity of the price problem in the economy of transition
Conclusion.

223
227

Appendix to Chapter Six   Bibliography on the problem of prices in the
   socialist countries of Europe


244

 [ - Part 3 - ]

Index

249