Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

Discussion on the Formation of a Monopoly Price in the Soviet Marxist Literature of the 1920s - 1930s

Kalmychkova Elena, MSU Lomonosov

The 1920s were a unique period for the Russian economy, economic thought, and political development. The economic theory and socio-economic environment faced with unprecedented challenge - the establishment of a planned economy in an agricultural country The first period (1918-1920) was characterized by the search for fundamentally new approaches in understanding the laws of the planned economy. In particular, many efforts were made for theoretical rationale of the existence of the non-monetary planned economy. The second period (1921-1926) witnessed extensive discussions of ideas about combination of a planned and market regulated systems. The theories were developed with involvement of world achievements of social and economic thought . In the third period (1927-1935) was a growing tendency towards autarchy both in the intellectual sphere and in respect to economic practice. Economists focused on the development of the Soviet interpretations of Marxism and criticism of the Western economic theories. Nevertheless, discussions of the laws of monopoly price formation that took place in the second and third periods were relevant because they dealt with this idea within the framework of the mixed economy. The emergence of monopolies in capitalism was seen as the appearance of the foundations of economic planning. Such ideas were developed by Karl Kautsky, Rudolf Hilferding and many Soviet scholars. The monopoly price was considered as an intrinsic feature of the planned system which pumps society’s wealth in favor of monopoly capital Isaak Dashkovsky, Jacob Pilecki, Israel Blumin). Blumin proposed to develop the theory of the equilibrium market price. The separation of the monopoly price from the cost was explained by the preparedness of the modern capitalism to preparedness of the modern capitalism to introducing socialism. These ideas were consistent with attempts to develop a non-monetary system under socialism, to form prices contributing to the redistribution of created surplus value from agriculture to the large-scale industry (Yevgeni Preobrazhensky). Since 1925, Soviet politicians decided that the socialist construction would take place only in the USSR. That’s why Soviet economics had to be independent of intellectual influence of the Western Marxism and other currents in Western economics. It was also necessary to prove that only Soviet economists are the keepers of “real” Marxism and have a monopoly on the interpretation of Marx’s ideas.


Keywords: the planned economy, non-monetary economy, combination of a planned and market regulated systems, autarchy, the Soviet interpretations of Marxism ,monopoly price, equilibrium market price, socialism

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