Was Stalin’s push toward Industrialization worth it?
Industrialization is, of course, an essential progression in any modernized country. However, Joseph Stalin’s management of industrialization in the USSR has always been a topic of great contention. it was presented by official propaganda as an essential and indispensable step in building the material foundations of socialism. The next important distinction was that Stalin's industrialization was not based on private enterprise, but was totally state-driven and was superficially based on centralized directive planning.
Industrialization was the main component of Stalin’s revolution. All the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution understood the inherent problem in starting a communist revolution in Russia: the country was not sufficiently capitalist to become socialist, and consequently, communist. The transition from the old, Imperial Russia to a communist state would require industrialization on a massive scale. According to Marxist theory, only through a modern industrialized economy could a true proletariat class be developed as Marx makes no mention of a peasant class. The need to industrialize was also a practical matter of self-defense. Stalin, either as a result of paranoia or a simple distrust of the capitalist West, assumed his country would have to fight for its survival. He presented the need to industrialize as a life or death struggle. “Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence?” he asked in a February 1931 speech.
The increases in production were dramatic. During the first five year plan there was a fifty percent increase in industrial output and an average annual growth rate of eighteen percent. However, much of what was produced was of a very low standard. By emphasizing output only, and by intentionally setting the target output levels unrealistically high, the Soviet leaders created a system in which poor quality produced quickly was preferable to...
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