Show Summary Details

p. 583. Poverty and wealthlocked

  • Stephen Lovell


‘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.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.