Was the USSR Really State-Capitalist?

How could the USSR have been an instance of state-capitalism when there were none of the capitalist laws of motion in the form of market discipline operating within the Soviet economy? Don't misunderstand me, I don't think the USSR was socialist by any stretch; I just think capitalist doesn't accurately described it either. Was it something else?

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Yes. It was Actually Existing Third Way economics, a sort of hybrid between capitalism and socialism.

state-capitalist is more of an epithet than a term with an agreed upon definition


Lenin' NEP sure felt like it was leaning towards capitalism. Good thing Stalin ended that shit.

I used to basically argue for State Capitalism as a designation (when I was in a Neo-Trotskyist group), but even in groups that use it, it's not *generally* used as a a serious analytical term.

Tony Cliff's probably the one person who defends the usage of the term, your best bet is to start there.



Before people jump on me for posting Tony Cliff, I think he's a basket case politically, especially when he starts arguing nonsense like this;

It was a degenerated workers' state, that is a dictatorship of the proletariat which failed in its revolutionary role, being forced into a corner by the international forces of capital and thus had no alternative but settling into a gradual decline attempting to safeguard itself from forces of reaction and in opportune moments of crisis and opening in the capitalist world order to expand its power relative to world capital in an ultimately futile though admirable attempt to outlast capitalism.

I don't see anything wrong with that logic.




Holla Forums-tier reply

hello were is the arguments :D :DD


according to marx in socialism one man should be able to exchange his 10 hours of daily labour, for a little less than 10 hours worth of products (discounting tax of course), did this happen in the soviet union?….. what is that you say?, they didn't even calculate labour contents?, then it wasn't socialism, it's that easy


i used the wrong words but you know what i meant

State capitalism that is for the people is socialism, which the USSR was.


Capitalism even when for the people remains capitalism.

no, it was socialist

Can someone justify socialist commodity production in shitpost format? I'm a theorylet, and the idea just doesn't seem to make since to me. I get the socialist economies used to be capitalist economies, and they'll carry some baggage, but I'm used to the idea that capitalism is an economy where goods are produced primarily for exchange. If there were goods produced for use that somehow end up on a market, that wouldn't bother me nearly as much. I know that Stalin wrote something about this, but I don't even have the time to read a 10+ page essay at this point.

There is no justification. Besides for the fact there was still markets for MOP, individual state firms acted independently of each other, the kolkhoz were all private producers and sold their surplus on a market etc.



No, we don't.

The law of value didn't regulate production. You can't justify the claim that something is capitalist when it doesn't adhere to the capitalist laws of motion. That the value form and commodity production existed doesn't matter. I'll give you an example: I'm taking out a 100€ note from my wallet, which I was supposed to buy me a microwave, and I burn it in front of your eyes. I then proceed to the store and steal the microwave. According to the Leftcom argument, I'm still a capitalist because the money-form is still arround me, even though I just literally burned money in front of his eyes.

Value and commodity form is a social construct, and not some religious entity decoupled from the actual contradictions between capital and labor. Daily reminder that Leftcoms refuse to read Capital Vol. 3 because it contradicts their arguments so they come up with some conspiracy theory how Engels was a meanie and revised the everything Marx wrote.

Besides the fact that commodity production only occurred in agricultural cooperatives and for the allocation of consumer items, the majority of the economy didn't have commodity production. Leftcoms will say that the fact that commodity production existed proves that it's capitalism, which is an AnCap argument: Commodity production has existed since ancient times, therefore, capitalism has existed since ancient times.

Commodity production inherently involves private property. Marx specifically said products would not exchange in socialism, which they did in the USSR. State enterprises acted independently of each other and sold MOP freely between each other. Values were clearly exchanging in the USSR between independent producers.

Indeed, the law of value didn't regulate production and that means the USSR wasn't capitalist. But that doesn't prove it was socialist either…

I don't know what you are talking about. There was a state plan that regulated what was produced and how much, how resources were allocated, etc. - there was independent accounting, but that's all. In the Kosygin reforms, enterprises with higher profitability were rewarded with a portion of their surplus to distribute amongst workers as a bonus, but they were scrapped years later and were largely unsuccessful. There were no other market reforms till Gorbachev took over.

Also, stop looking at the sphere of circulation isolated from its historical conditions, fucking hell, that's just a vulgarizarion of Marxism. I guess AnCaps were right after all and capitalism has always existed. Please, go ahead and actually read the entirety of Capital and not just chapter one.

I mean we can go ahead and speculate all day how perfect, flawless Kumbaya socialism looks like, instead of just acknowledging the historical conditions out of which it arose in the real world, but that would be utopian, wouldn't it?

Also, this…
…is a Stalinist argument. Stalin argued that cooperatives like the Kolkhoz produce commodities and are therefore private property. He said that in the long term, they should be transformed into public enterprise. Of course, they didn't do that. To my knowledge, Albania later got rid of cooperative ownership, so you can argue that they've abolished commodity production, the DPRK didn't get rid of cooperative ownership put put a 100% tax on labor on them under Kim Il Sung which is almost the same in practice, and which was later reduced in the 90s.


If yes its socialism

If not its capitalism or state capitalism.