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p. 583. Poverty and wealthlocked

  • Stephen Lovell

Abstract

‘Poverty and wealth’ considers the economic experience and the existence of inequality in the Soviet Union. The Soviet system had three main economic principles: egalitarianism, centralization and hostility to markets, and discriminatory distribution. Bolshevik supporters and elites always received favourable distribution, with peasants doing particularly badly. Under the NEP, private businesses were an early necessity. Famine came for the last time only in 1947. Under Khrushchev, the regime made consumer wellbeing a higher priority, but fixed prices allowed little room for manoeuvre. The 1970s and 1980s saw increasing consumption but shortages of consumer goods and a persistent black market. Gorbachev's attempts at economic reform led to implosion and food shortages.

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