Economic Knowledge in Socialism, 1945–89

Economic Knowledge in Socialism, 1945–89. 2019. Edited by Till Düppe and Ivan Boldyrev. Supplement to volume 51 of HOPE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

"Economic Knowledge in Socialism, 1945–89: Editors’ Introduction," by Till Düppe and Ivan Boldyrev (pp. 1–4). Our preconceived notion of socialism as an oppressive system in which everything was overdetermined by the political pre-script should be vigorously challenged.

Part 1. Discourses

"'From Each according to Their Ability, to Each according to Their Need': Calorie Money and Technical Norms in Mid-Twentieth-Century Hungary," by Martha Lampland (pp. 7–29). In Hungary, two wage systems targeted the use of labor power: calorie money, or compensating workers with food in addition to money; and technical norms, a long-term project to extract the greatest amount of effort most efficiently.

"By Force of Power: On the Relationship between Social Science Knowledge and Political Power in Economics in Communist Hungary," by György Péteri (pp. 30–51). With the help of networks and practices of patronage, economic research in Hungary gained a considerable degree of autonomy and yielded some remarkable intellectual performances attracting attention beyond national and systemic boundaries.

"The Economics of Everyday Life in 'New' Socialism: Czechoslovak Public Economics and Economic Reform in the Prague Spring Era," by Vítězslav Sommer (pp. 52–72). Czechoslovak economists communicated their knowledge to the broader public when far-reaching changes in economic policy were publicly discussed, eager to act as public intellectuals intervening in highly politicized discussion through reform-oriented economic journalism.

Part 2. Doctrines

"'Commodity Sui Generis': The Discourses of Soviet Political Economy of Socialism," by Oleg Ananyin and Denis Melnik (pp. 75–99). The political economy of socialism as a discipline in Soviet academe was shaped under an intricate discursive regime, its basic structure and content owing much to the first official textbook of political economy initiated by and elaborated under the direct control of Stalin

"'The Honest Marxist': Yakov Kronrod and the Politics of Cold War Economics in the Post-Stalin USSR," by Yakov Feygin (pp. 100–126). Kronrod’s career suffered from attacks on his ideological integrity, and thus understanding his career and its importance requires a history of economics not as a profession or scholarly practice but as a discourse engaged in making state policy and interacting with power.

"Administrative Monsters: Yurii Yaremenko’s Critique of the Late Soviet State," by Adam E. Leeds (pp. 127–51). Yaremenko remained a communist and proponent of planning until his death, but his theory showed how the Soviet economy was exhausting “extensive” sources of growth, ceasing in any real sense to be planned.

Part 3. Techniques

"The Growth and Marcescence of the 'System for Optimal Functioning of the Economy' (SOFE)," by Richard E. Ericson (pp. 155–79). SOFE aspired to an unrealizable dream incompatible with the state-centered and state-driven economy and would have only multiplied and aggravated the problems of planned economic development.

"From Pattern Recognition to Economic Disequilibrium: Emmanuil Braverman's Theory of Control of the Soviet Economy," by Olessia Kirtchik (pp. 180–203). Braverman’s vision of the economy was rooted in some cybernetically inspired idea of control as a "purposive influence on behavior" based on information processing and communication

"Systems Analysis as Infrastructural Knowledge: Scientific Expertise and Dissensus under State Socialism," by Eglė Rindzevičiūtė (pp. 204–27). The Soviet case shifts the focus from infrastructural failure as a source of political action to the planning stage of infrastructure and its political effects, with systems analysis experts generating a politics of dissensus around infrastructural projects

Part 4. The International

"The Bureaucratic Bourgeoisie: How the Soviet Union Lost Faith in State-Led Economic Development," by Chris Miller (pp. 231–52). Beginning in the 1960s, Soviet analysts developed detailed critiques of state institutions in the third world, driven by an understanding of how government institutions could be hijacked by speci‡c groups and a newfound skepticism about the ability of third world states to modernize their economies.

"The Struggle over Structural Adjustment: Socialist Revolution versus Capitalist Counterrevolution in Yugoslavia and the World," by Johanna Bockman (pp. 253–76). The second and third worlds demanded structural adjustment, which, in response, the World Bank and IMF eventually determined capitalists should control.

"Shestidesyatniki Economics, the Idea of Convergence, and Perestroika," by Joachim Zweynert (pp. 277–99). The concept of convergence played an important role in bridging the gap between dissidents, who were inŒuenced by Pitirim Sorokin’s and Andrei Sakharov’s ideas on convergence, and reformist shestidesyatniki economists who referred to the works of Walter Rostow, Jan Tinbergen, and John Kenneth Galbraith.