In what ways socialist and capitalist industrialization is different?
The socialist industrialization was based on entirely new sets of economic principles and policies with the purpose of achieving a socialist state. The practices in Soviet Russia after the October Revolution were the first major large scale experiment with socialism in Europe and became a model of socialism.
We find that by 1939, the main features of this model were major state regulation of production, finance and trade, fundamental restrictions on private property, and a system of planning which schematized the economy and provided flexible targets and goals. Therefore, the state control of the economy produced governments which used public welfare as their reference point. Therefore, the economy was called a Planned Economy.
Actually, the system of Planning was highly innovative as the control over the economy was unknown in any economy before 1917. The members of the incumbent Bolshevik Party were committed socialists and encouraged the notion that the Soviet economy was a socialist economy, and was an exemplar for socialism. They justified each step of economic reform as a contribution to socialism. The Soviet Planned Economy was considered the archetype of socialist experiment.
The Bolsheviks set out to provide the benefits of industrial development to as many people, in as just a manner, in as short a time as possible. The Soviet industrialization has been widely debated on the following lines. Scholars have questioned whether socialist industrialization on the Soviet pattern more concerned with socialism and justice than with economic growth of the country. For instance, Maurice Dobb and some other socialist historians believe that Soviet industrialization came about through policies that had an eye to economic and industrial growth as well as social justice.
Accordingly, ideas of socialism defined by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, were important in everything that occurred and steps taken for growth were a success. Some non-socialist historians like Jasny have agreed that growth was achieved, but others, like Alec Nove, held that, even if there was growth, the industrialization was inefficient and the weaknesses were the result of obsessions with socialist doctrines.
E.H. Carr,and R.W. Davies work goes against this kind of perspective. They argued that the Soviet leadership was divided on the meaning of socialism and evolved policy while adapting to problems of growth. However, Davies disagrees with Carr that this was generally true. It has also been asked if socialist industrialization on the Soviet pattern a product of Russian circumstances and inapplicable for other countries or regions.
Certain scholars have argued that Soviet industrialization was not socialist since socialism could not be constructed in an underdeveloped country like Russia where industrial capitalism had been weak. The leader of the October Revolution, V.I. Lenin himself did not consider it possible for Russia to build socialism without a revolution in the West.
Moreover, he was disturbed about the prospects of constructing socialism in a country which was mainly agricultural, where industrial and finance capitalism were features of the late 19th century. Accordingly, socialism in Russia is regarded as a travesty, economic experiment on a bad foundation with socialist jargon thrown in. We can find some problems with this argument. It implies that socialist experiments cannot take place where there is no advanced capitalism. Marx was not certain about this.
Moreover, it has been pointed out if Soviet socialism was an instrument of a new ruling class in Russia and a Russian instrument to rule non-Russian territories of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Anders Aslund perspective is also there. This anti-Soviet economist has recently viewed that Soviet production was seriously incompetent.