Part I: 1930ies and Soviet Russia criticising “capitalist West”
The very same time shopping on credit for technical tools built by the world that shall crumble.
Modern speeches about “self-sustaining civilisation” became a bit loud — motivating to don a professional hat and look at the roots of whether it was so, as ruminated from the political pedestal.
In his lengthy speech in June 1930, Stalin castigated the capitalist world; on the verge of collapse and hissing deviously about the need to suppress and punish Soviet Russia for being able to grow amid the crash, destitution and rampant unemployment.
“Политический отчет Центрального Комитета XVI съезду ВКП(б)”
The crisis, he posited, came from the wrong pillars that support capitalism, its methods of oppressing workers finally showing its gnawing and rotten teeth.
He highlighted the need to rapid-industrialise and support the high-output collective scenarios for that vs. morally wrong individualism that capitalist system exhibited (something that the “petite bourgeoisie” movement will prove the monolithic wrong the very same decade, the birth of silicon and radio experiments done by lone radical pioneers).
During the same year, the leader narrating the unique path — Soviet Union bought the most of western industrial equipment, tools, sent several delegations and hired thousands of American engineers to design and curate the set-up of its heavy industry.
Hundreds of Soviet engineers were sent to learn ways of scientific management, mass-production and efficient manufacturing. Many of them will then perish after often public trials — castigated as “wreckers” (when intensified and carelessness lead to rapid amortisation of fixed assets).
Capital mobility — the source of occasional exuberant moments in time — is also the greatest strength in a “learning” system over long-term — as it allows the capital to stem to new emerging ways and means of output.
The reliance on capital mobility (and the markets that support this), the law that is universally applied and interpreted by independent courts vs. politicians — is the ingredient of the international value-chain that formed both before and then accelerated after WW2. It is the application of all elements that allows to generate stable and growing IP receipts and extract premium from the system one has contributed to creating. Yet it starts with the product.
The study of the modern period of Russia and its (failed) attempt to integrate in the global value chain (GVC) — will be covered in Part II of this series.
- Stephen Kotkin. Stalin, Vol. II: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941
- Bailes, Kendall E. “The Politics of Technology: Stalin and Technocratic Thinking among Soviet Engineers.” The American Historical Review, vol. 79, no. 2, 1974, pp. 445–69. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/1850331
- Bailes, Kendalle E. “The American Connection: Ideology and the Transfer of American Technology to the Soviet Union, 1917–1941.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 23, no. 3, 1981, pp. 421–48. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/178483
- Dalrymple, Dana G. “American Technology and Soviet Agricultural Development, 1924–1933.” Agricultural History, vol. 40, no. 3, 1966, pp. 187–206. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3740697
- Wright, Gavin. “The Origins of American Industrial Success, 1879–1940.” The American Economic Review, vol. 80, no. 4, 1990, pp. 651–68. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2006701
- Black, John D. “Agriculture in the Nation’s Economy.” Journal of Farm Economics, vol. 38, no. 2, 1956, pp. 223–37. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/1234358