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On Socialist Mode of Production
Marxist-Leninist political economy has gone through more than a century of development. Like Marxism-Leninism in general, Marxist-Leninist political economy is creative and active. Profoundly alien to dogmatism, it develops in the closest, inseparable connection with the practice of the working-class movement, with the practice of the struggle of the working class and all working people for socialism and communism, and is replenished with new theoretical propositions based on the generalization of new historical experience.
Marx and Engels gave a scientific analysis of the foundations of capitalism as a historically transient mode of production, discovered the economic laws of its origin, development, and death. In their works The Communist Manifesto, Capital, The Critique of the Gotha Program, Anti-Dühring, and others, Marx and Engels revealed the historical role of the proletariat as the grave-digger of capitalism and the builder of socialist society. They created the theory of the proletarian revolution, substantiated the economic necessity of the transition period from capitalism to socialism as a special historical stage in the revolutionary transformation of capitalist society into socialist society, and outlined in general terms the two phases in the development of communist society.
The most important in Marxism is the doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a state of a new type, which plays a decisive role in the revolutionary transformation of society. Marx and Engels outlined a program of the most important measures carried out by the proletarian dictatorship: the expropriation of the expropriators, the replacement of private ownership of the means of production by public property, the abolition of exploitation and the exploiting classes, and the rapid growth of the productive forces of society.
Marx and Engels foresaw that in a socialist society the anarchy of production would be replaced by the planned development of the social economy and the principle of distribution according to work would be implemented. Only with the further rapid development of the productive forces, with the growth of the abundance of products, with the abolition of the essential differences between town and country, between mental and physical labor, with the transformation of labor into man's first vital necessity, will the transition from the lower phase of communism to the higher phase, which is dominated by the principle of : "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
Lenin, developing Marxist political economy, enriched it with a scientific study of the monopoly stage of capitalism - imperialism and the general crisis. capitalism. The most important conclusion from this study was a new, complete theory of the socialist revolution, the theory of the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country.
Guided by the position of Marx and Engels on the expropriation of the expropriators as the first task of the proletarian revolution, Lenin, in his works “On the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution”, “The Threatening Catastrophe and How to Fight It”, “Will the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?” and others gave a scientific justification for the program of nationalization of land, large-scale industry, banks, foreign trade, as the most important measures of the proletarian dictatorship aimed at mastering the commanding heights of the economy.
On the basis of a scientific generalization of the historical experience of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the practice of socialist construction in the USSR, Lenin enriched Marxism in general, and Marxist political economy in particular, with a profound analysis of the laws of the socialist transformation of society. In his works The State and Revolution, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, The Infantile Disease of "Left-Wing" in socialism , Economics and Politics in the Era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, and others, a comprehensive development of the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat is given. Lenin defined the dictatorship of the proletariat as a special form of the class alliance of the proletariat with the main masses of the peasantry under the leadership of the proletariat and as the highest type of proletarian democracy expressing the interests of the working masses. He revealed the content and historical mission of the dictatorship of the proletariat, defining its three main aspects: a) suppression of the exploiters, b) leadership of the working masses, and c). building a socialist society.
Lenin developed the question of the nature and role of social classes and class struggle in the transition period from capitalism to socialism, giving a scientific analysis of the economy and the class structure of society during this period. He comprehensively elucidated the question of the alliance of the working class with the bulk of the peasantry, with the leading role of the working class in this alliance. Lenin worked out ways to liquidate the exploiting classes and abolish the exploitation of man by man in the period of the dictatorship of the working class, showing that the building of socialism is accompanied by a sharp class struggle against the exploiting classes.
In the works "The Immediate Tasks of Soviet Power", "How to Organize Competition?", "The Great Initiative", "On the Unified Economic Plan", "On the Food Tax", "On Cooperation" and in other works, Lenin gave the theoretical foundations and outlined specific ways economic policy in the transition period from capitalism to socialism. Lenin is the creator of a specific plan for building socialism in the USSR, which is of world-historical significance. The most important parts of this plan are the socialist industrialization of the country and the collectivization of agriculture. Lenin showed that in order to build the foundation of a socialist economy and ensure the economic independence of the Soviet country from world imperialism, it is necessary to get rid of the age-old backwardness of Russia in the shortest possible historical period and create large-scale industry.
On the basis of a generalization of the practice of socialist construction, Lenin worked out the initial propositions of the basic economic law of socialism, the law of the planned development of the national economy, and others. Lenin defined the basic principles of socialist economic management, revealed the significance of the principle of material interest in the rise of socialist production, and creatively developed the Marxist position on distribution according to work under socialism, on wages, etc. Lenin's works substantiate the need to expand trade and use money for the development of the Soviet economy to strengthen the bond between the city and the countryside. Lenin scientifically foresaw that the socialist revolution, having carried out the great change from forced labor to exploiters, to free labor for itself, for the whole of society, will give rise to a revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses unprecedented in history and for the first time will create the possibility of widely, on a mass scale, applying competition. He worked out the questions of the strictest, nationwide accounting and control over the production and distribution of products, the creation of a new, socialist labor discipline, and economic accounting.
In the works of Lenin, the main provisions of Marxism on the ways of building a communist society, on the role of electrification and the growth of labor productivity in creating the material and production foundation of communism, and on the conditions for the transition to the communist principle of distribution according to needs received further creative development.
Relying on the works of the creators of the truly scientific political economy of Marx, Engels and Lenin, Stalin put forward and developed a number of new provisions of economic science. Stalin's works give an analysis of modern monopoly capitalism, and outline a picture of the general crisis of the capitalist system, which is a comprehensive crisis of capitalism, embracing both its economy and politics.
Based on the generalization of the experience of socialist construction in the USSR, Stalin developed a number of problems of the political economy of socialism. Based on Lenin's instructions, Stalin, in his reports at party congresses and conferences, in the works "Problems of Leninism", "Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR" and others, substantiated the ways and methods of implementing the socialist industrialization of the country and the collectivization of agriculture. Relying on the starting points given in the works of Marx, Engels and Lenin, Stalin formulated the basic economic law of socialism and the law of the planned, proportional development of the national economy.
In Stalin's writings, Lenin's propositions on the methods of socialist economic management, on the need to use the law of value and money, on economic accounting, on the principle of the material interest of workers in the results of their labor, on the superiority of the socialist economic system over the capitalist, found their further development.
Stalin developed and concretized the Marxist-Leninist propositions on the gradual transition from socialism to communism: on the state under socialism, on eliminating the essential differences between town and country, between mental and physical labor.
Marxist-Leninist political economy receives its further development on the basis of a generalization of the practice of socialist construction in the USSR and the building of socialism in the countries of people's democracy. It is enriched by new experience in the revolutionary struggle of the working class and broad sections of the working people against oppression and exploitation in the capitalist countries, as well as by the experience of the national liberation struggle of the colonial peoples. The development of the economic theory of Marxism-Leninism finds its most vivid expression in the historical decisions of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the fraternal communist and workers' parties, in the works of the leaders of these parties, enriching it with new conclusions and propositions arising from the changing conditions of society.
Marxist-Leninist political economy, as the most important component of Marxism-Leninism, is a powerful ideological weapon of the proletariat in its struggle against capitalism, for socialism. It is a truly scientific political economy, since it expresses the interests of the working class and all the progressive forces of mankind, interested in an objective study of the laws of the economic development of society, which inevitably lead to the death of capitalism, to the victory of socialism.
Modern bourgeois political economy, expressing the interests of the monopoly bourgeoisie, which is striving to perpetuate the obsolete capitalist system, does everything to hide and cover up the contradictions of the capitalist system, which are leading to its destruction. Petty-bourgeois political economy, embellishing capitalism, and sowing illusions about the possibility of its improvement through reforms, is trying to divert the working class, the broad working masses, from the struggle for the destruction of the capitalist system, for socialism. Bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political economy sets as its main task the preservation of the capitalist system and the struggle against Marxist-Leninist political economy.
Marxist-Leninist political economy exposes the anti-scientific, reactionary essence of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political economy. It equips the working class with knowledge of the economic laws of the development of society and enables the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties to base their policies on scientific foundations.
What are the main conclusions to be drawn from the study of political economy? What does political economy teach?
1. Political economy teaches first of all that the economic development of human society is a natural process. The emergence and development of each mode of production, the replacement of one mode of production by another, occurs not at the will of people, but due to the operation of objective economic laws. Political economy opens up the possibility of knowing the objective laws of economic development and using them in the interests of society.
Political economy, revealing the laws of social production and distribution of material goods at various stages of the development of society, provides the key to understanding the entire process of development of human society, as a single regular process in all its versatility and inconsistency. The laws of political economy, like the laws of any other science, are a reflection in the minds of people of objective laws that exist outside of us. At the same time, political economy provides a deep and comprehensive substantiation of the most important Marxist proposition that the main force in the development of society, the true creator of history, is the people, the working masses. It shows the mobilizing, organizing, and transforming role of progressive ideas generated by the pressing needs of the development of the material life of society.
Human society develops from the lowest forms of its existence to the highest. Each of the modes of production represents a certain stage in the progressive movement of society, in the development of its productive forces and production relations. Up until the socialist revolution, the development of society takes place in such a way that the production relations of the new socio-economic system, which replaces the old, obsolete system, for a certain period of time contribute to the development of the productive forces, and later turn into their fetters. Then there is a change of one economic system of society by another, higher economic system. In a society divided into antagonistic classes, this change is carried out through class struggle, through a social revolution that overthrows the power of the obsolete ruling class and establishes the power of a new, advanced class.
Political economy, comprehensively studying the emergence, development and decline of socio-economic formations based on private ownership of the means of production, reveals the economic roots of the class struggle. It shows that the working masses are the creators of wealth, and the fruits of their labor are appropriated by the exploiting classes. This means that the class struggle is conditioned by the fundamental material interests of certain classes, by the laws of the economic development of a given mode of production.
Each new social system based on private ownership of the means of production - the slave system, feudalism, capitalism - established the exploiters in power, changing only the forms of exploitation and oppression of the working people. The entire course of the economic development of society testifies to the fact that capitalism is the last social system based on the exploitation of man by man. Political economy shows that capitalism, in its monopoly stage, has long since become a reactionary system that is holding back the further forward movement of society. Dying capitalism is being replaced by a new social system - socialism, which means the destruction of the exploiting classes, the elimination of the exploitation of man by man.
The history of the development of human society fully confirms the correctness of this scientific conclusion of Marxist-Leninist political economy. A socialist society has been built in the Soviet Union. With the victory of socialism in the USSR, the false theory of the eternity of private property and the capitalist system was completely exposed. The building of socialism is being successfully built in the European people's democracies. The great revolutionary transformations in China's economy have created the preconditions for the gradual building of socialism in this largest country in the East.. Communist society, of which socialism is the first stage, is the ultimate goal of the struggle of the working people of all countries.
Political economy gives the working class and all working people confidence in the victory of socialism, showing that this victory is conditioned by the entire previous course of historical development.
2. Political economy, based on the experience of the USSR and the people's democracies, teaches how the working people of the capitalist countries can break out of capitalist bondage. It shows that the oppression and impoverishment of the working people in bourgeois countries do not depend on accidental causes, but are rooted in the capitalist economic system and are determined by the economic laws inherent in this system. Crises, unemployment, the impoverished state of the masses cannot disappear without a change in the very basis of production relations, that is, without the transfer of the means of production from the private property of the capitalists and landlords to the public property of the working people.
By revealing the opposition between the foundations of bourgeois and socialist economics, the irreconcilability of the class interests of the bourgeoisie, on the one hand, and of the proletariat and all working people, on the other, political economy shows the impossibility of a peaceful "growing" of capitalism into socialism. No attempts to reform, "improve" capitalism can do away with the system of wage slavery. The Great October Socialist Revolution irrefutably proved that only by eliminating the very foundations of capitalism can the working class and the working peasantry get rid of the bondage of the exploiters and enter the path of a free, prosperous, and cultured life. Historical experience fully confirms the correctness of the Marxist thesis about the inevitability of a socialist revolution, that the replacement of capitalism by socialism is impossible without the establishment of the power of the working people, without the dictatorship of the proletariat, without an alliance between the working class and the peasantry. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to have a Communist Party capable of preparing the proletariat and the broad working masses for a decisive struggle against the bourgeoisie and organizing the victory of the socialist revolution.
Political economy shows that the enslavement and plunder of the colonial peoples by the mother countries is determined by the very essence of imperialism, which is closely connected with the feudal-landlord and bourgeois-comprador circles of the colonial countries. The peoples of the colonial and semi-colonial countries can get rid of slavery, poverty, and backwardness only by liberating themselves from the yoke of imperialism and its local vassals, by destroying the survivals of feudalism and by carrying out fundamental democratic reforms. The colonial countries, having broken with the system of imperialism and secured their independence, can, with the economic support of the USSR and other countries of the socialist camp, bypass the painful path of capitalist development and gradually create the prerequisites for the transition to socialist construction.
The overthrow of the capitalist system in one bourgeois country or another and its replacement by socialist systems, the falling away from the system of imperialism of a colonial country and the implementation of democratic transformations in it do not occur as a result of the "export of the revolution", which is an invention of the imperialists, but because of deep internal needs. economic development of these countries.
3. Political economy teaches how to transform the economy in the spirit of socialism. The transition to socialism cannot be carried out along arbitrarily chosen paths, but is a natural process. Political economy shows that in the transitional period from capitalism to socialism, due to the operation of objective economic laws, the nationalization of large-scale capitalist production, the socialist industrialization of the country, and the collectivization of peasant farms are carried out in a certain sequence. The building of socialism takes place in an uncompromising struggle against the capitalist elements in town and country.
Political economy has exposed the false fabrications of bourgeois ideologists that the working class, having come to power, is incapable of organizing the economy. The historical experience of the USSR has shown what an inexhaustible creative force the power of the working people gives rise to. For the first time in history, the working class, the working people of a vast country occupying one-sixth of the globe, threw off the yoke of exploitation and oppression, became the masters of their country and created a socialist system that ensures a steady rise in the productive forces, social wealth, material well-being and culture of the masses. This proves that the people can successfully do without exploiters, that the working class, the working masses, are capable not only of destroying the old, bourgeois economic system, but also of building a new, immeasurably higher socialist economic system.
Political economy provides an economic justification for the need for the leading role of the working class in socialist construction, for a firm alliance between the working class and the peasantry, with the aim of building socialism and abolishing the exploitation of man by man. The alliance between the working class and the peasantry is the indestructible foundation of the social system in all countries of the socialist camp. On the basis of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry, the centuries-old peasant question is being resolved, a transition is being made from small individual peasant farming to large-scale collective farming, which saves the peasantry from ruin and poverty. The victory of the collective-farm system in the USSR actually refuted the fabrications of the bourgeoisie that the peasantry was allegedly incapable of embarking on the path of socialism.
Political economy summarizes the historical experience of building socialism in the USSR. It shows how a previously impoverished and weak country, which was pre-revolutionary Russia, has turned into a rich and powerful country, which is the Soviet Union. From the treasury of Soviet experience, the People's Democracies draw knowledge of the proven paths of socialist construction, the laws of the class struggle in the transitional period, the knowledge of how the working class can achieve unbreakable friendship and a lasting alliance with the peasantry, how to strengthen the economic bond between town and country, how to achieve victory over exploitative classes and build a socialist society.
The use of the Soviet experience requires careful consideration of the specific features of the economy and class relations in each country, which are determined by the totality of the historical conditions of its development. In the people's democracies, the building of socialism is proceeding under more favorable conditions than it took place in the Soviet Union, since at present there is a powerful socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union and a wealth of experience in socialist construction has been accumulated.
4. Political economy teaches that practical work for socialist construction can be successful only if it is based on the economic laws of the development of society.
Knowledge of economic laws makes it possible to penetrate deep into the essence of economic processes, to reveal progressive development trends when they are still in their infancy, to scientifically foresee the course of economic development and direct it in accordance with the tasks of building socialism. Political economy equips cadres for the struggle for the victory of the new, progressive over the old, obsolete. Scientific knowledge of the economic laws studied by political economy forms the basis of the economic policy of the communist and workers' parties in power in the countries of the socialist camp. Guided by the Marxist-Leninist theory, knowledge of objective economic laws, these parties develop and implement a scientifically based and practically tested policy that reflects the needs of the development of the material life of society, the fundamental interests of the people, act as inspirers and organizers of the revolutionary energy and creativity of the masses.
By shedding light on the operation of the basic economic law of socialism, political economy orients cadres to organize their work in accordance with the goal of socialist production—the maximum satisfaction of the material and cultural needs of the people. Political economy reveals the conditions for the continuous growth and improvement of production on the basis of higher technology.
Political economy shows that free flow is profoundly alien to the economic system of socialism, that the construction of socialist society can be carried out only in the order of planned management of the economy on the basis of the law of planned development of the national economy, in accordance with the requirements of the basic economic law of socialism. The study of the law of the planned development of the national economy helps to use material, financial, and labor resources wisely and correctly combine all the elements of production.
Political economy shows that the main, decisive condition for the further upswing and all-round development of the national economy is the all-round increase in labor productivity in all sectors—in industry, transport, and agriculture. Continuous growth in labor productivity is the main condition for solving the problem of maximum satisfaction of the needs of the people, for successful economic competition with the most developed capitalist countries.
Political economy reveals the enormous importance for socialist construction of the interest of the masses in a steady rise in production, which follows from socialist relations of production. It shows the role of socialist emulation as a powerful motive force for the economic development of socialist society. Revealing the role and significance of the law of distribution according to work for the development of the socialist economy, political economy orients cadres towards the consistent implementation of differentiated wages in all sectors of the national economy in direct proportion to its results, towards the elimination of elements of leveling.
Political economy elucidates the significance of the skillful use of the law of value and the economic instruments associated with it for socialist construction. Understanding the operation of the law of value under socialism serves as an important means for cadres to improve production methods, reduce the cost of production, strengthen economic accounting, and raise the profitability of enterprises, develop trade, and improve the financial system. Political economy reveals the enormous possibilities available in the socialist planned economy for implementing a strict austerity regime and increasing socialist accumulation.
The Soviet Union and the people's democracies are characterized by a steady increase in the creative activity of the masses in economic and cultural construction. Therefore, knowledge by the masses of the laws of economic development and the principles of socialist economic management is becoming increasingly important. By arming the cadres with the knowledge of economic laws, political economy makes it possible to use and apply these laws more and more successfully in practice, and thereby raise the efficiency of all work in building socialism and communism.
The political economy of socialism helps business executives and the broad masses of working people to find and use the hidden reserves hidden in the depths of production and to prevent them from falling into bottlenecks. On the other hand, it teaches to fully take into account real economic conditions and warns against actions based on the principle: “we can do everything”, “we don’t care about anything”.
By revealing the interrelationship of economic processes, political economy makes it possible for every worker to understand the significance of his activity for the development of the entire socialist system of the national economy. It teaches the understanding that under socialism the interests of the whole people, the interests of the whole state, are above all else.
5. Political economy shows that socialism is the most progressive mode of production, having decisive advantages over capitalism. This finds its vivid expression in the contrast between the basic economic laws of socialism and capitalism, which determine two different lines of development.
Whereas in capitalist countries production is subordinated to the predatory law of maximizing profits, which dooms the working people to ruin and poverty, unemployment, and hunger, to bloody wars, in socialist society production is subordinated to the interests of man and the satisfaction of his growing needs.
If the economy of the capitalist countries is characterized by the fact that the productive forces are marking time, parasitism and decay of capitalism are intensifying, and devastating economic crises are accompanied by the plunder of material values, then the economy of the Soviet Union and the people's democracies is characterized by a steady rise in production, technical progress, ensuring the constant improvement of production in base of higher technology.
In contrast to capitalism, where the economy, under the influence of its militarization, develops one-sidedly, mainly along the lines of industries working for war, which entails an increase in taxes and an increase in prices for consumer goods, socialism is characterized by the development of a peaceful economy, the widespread deployment of civilian industry, which is accompanied by a systematic decrease in prices for personal consumption goods, an increase in real incomes of the population.
While capitalism is characterized by competitive struggle between countries, the enslavement of some countries by others, socialism is characterized by friendly economic and cultural cooperation between the countries that make up the socialist camp, with a view to the general economic advance of these countries and the flourishing of their culture. The new world democratic market of the socialist camp is expanding more and more, which is one of the important factors for the prosperity of the socialist economy.