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Wage Structure in USSR

Here you can find some information about the wage structure in the USSR during Stalin's time (Quelle: Stalinist - yahoogroup)


"Striking it rich" is impossible. "Keeping up with the Joneses"
is bad form. Excelling the Ivanoviches in socialist competition to cut
production costs, increase output, and raise profits beyond the Plan is
always the order of the day. Conspicuous success in such endeavors
means prizes, bonuses, honors, and fame.
This elite bears little resemblance to any known aristocracy,
plutocracy, or theocracy."
Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf,
1946, p. 581

"No private person may legitimately make a penny of profit out
of this system of state and cooperative industry and trade, banking and
transport. There are no individual shareholders in the state industrial
enterprises; and the financial columns of the Russian newspapers are
restricted to brief quotations of the rates of the state loans. All the
normal means of acquiring large personal fortunes are thus pretty
effectively blocked up in Russia; and if there are some Nepmen, or
private traders who have become ruble millionaires through lucky
dealings in commerce or speculation, they are certainly neither a
numerous nor a conspicuous class."
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown,
1930, p. 131

"The new class of state managers, or "red directors" of
factories, who have replaced the former capitalist owners, are mostly
Communists and former workers. But by the very nature of their position
they must look at industrial life from a rather different angle from
that of the workers. Although they make no personal profit out of the
enterprises which they manage, they are supposed to turn in a profit for
the state."
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown,
1930, p. 174

"But the general view of the Social Democratic and Anarchist
critics of the Soviet regime, that there is a deep rift between a few
Communist officeholders at the top and the working masses at the bottom,
is, in my opinion, distorted, exaggerated, and quite at variance with
the actual facts of the Russian situation."
Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown,
1930, p. 177

"The difference in the standard of life is only determined by
the ability of the single man. The external glamour of life, enjoyed in
all other countries by a few big businessmen or rich heirs, has been
sacrificed to a feeling of security guaranteed by no other state to its
citizens. In order to remove the fear of the vacuum endured by 90% of
the citizens, the enjoyment of the other 10% must be curtailed. Then
the worker will not be filled any more by hate and jealousy, nor the
owner by hate and fear of revolts.
Such a state without classes must necessarily be a state
without races. Privileges for any race or color are explicitly denied
by the Constitution. "
Ludwig, Emil, Stalin. New York, New York: G. P. Putnam's sons,
1942, p. 167

"On the whole the men who remain in top leadership are the
ablest of the 12 million government employees. Although shouldering
more responsibility they do not receive salaries anywhere near as large
as those of corporation presidents in the United States. They do
receive decorations and they may have cities named after them. They are
all provided with automobiles, expense accounts and good houses or
Davis, Jerome. Behind Soviet Power. New York, N. Y.: The
Readers' Press, Inc., c1946, p. 39

"Even more important than these liberties is the fact that they
labor not for the private profit of employers (save for the small
proportion employed in private industry), but for the profit of the
whole community. State industries, like private, must show a profit to
keep going, but the public use of that profit robs it of the driving
force of exploitation.
The liberties enjoyed by workers in Russia, whether or not in unions
(less than 10 percent are outside), go far beyond those of workers in
other countries, not only in their participation in controlling working
conditions and wages, but in the privileges they get as a class. The
eight-hour day is universal in practice, alone of all countries in the
world, with a six-hour day in dangerous occupations like mining.
Reduction of the eight-hour day to seven hours is already planned for
all industries. Every worker gets a two-week vacation with pay, while
office workers and workers in dangerous trades, get a month. No worker
can be dismissed from his job without the consent of his union. His
rent, his admission to places of entertainment or education, his
transportation- -all these he gets at lower prices than others. When
unemployed he gets a small allowance from his union, free rent, free
transportation, and free admission to places of entertainment and
instruction. Education and medical aid are free to all workers--or for
small fees--extensive services being especially organized for and by
...There is in Russia no privileged class based on wealth.
Practically all rents for land or buildings are paid to the state or to
cooperatives; only a little of it goes to line private pockets. Money
may be loaned at simple interest, the rate being limited. Money
deposited with the state earns a rate of interest even higher than in
capitalist countries. But nobody is getting rich off the interest on
his savings and loans, for all incomes are both limited at their source,
and, when much above the average, are heavily taxed. Persons with
higher incomes are also obliged to pay higher prices for some
necessities- -especially rent. Inheritance of property is now
theoretically unlimited, but so heavily taxed as in effect to destroy
all above a moderate amount.
The new bourgeoisie, which has grown-up with the new economic
policy--private traders, richer peasants...- -is too small to constitute
a noteworthy exception to the general absence of a wealthy class. And
they are being increasingly restricted, despite the assertions to the
contrary by the Communist Opposition and others. The statistics of
private versus public enterprises show it. Earnings and incomes
throughout Soviet Russia vary from the minimum of bare subsistence, 15
or 20 rubles a month, to 10 or 15 times that amount. Few incomes run
above that figure (300 rubles a month, $150), the highest in all Russia
being those of a few concessionaires and foreign specialists on salaries
($5000-$10,000) . Even the few traders and concessionaires who have
gotten rich are unable to invest money productively in Russia, except in
state loans. None can be invested for exploitation. There is
practically no chance for anyone to get rich under the Soviet system
except a comparatively few traders, concessionaires, or the winners of
some of the big state lotteries--and it is hard for any of them to stay
rich under the heavy taxation."
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty Under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard
Press, 1928, p. 29-30

"...Even to tourists in Russia the absence of any moneyed class
is at once apparent.... No fine shops, no gay restaurants, no private
motors--none of the trappings of wealth that lend color and variety to
the life of bourgeois countries. Instead, a somewhat monotonous
drabness and shabbiness, more than compensated for by the thought of its
significance to the masses."
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty Under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard
Press, 1928, p. 30

"And to anyone who accepts the view of social action as a
struggle of classes, the political democracy of capitalist countries is
only an instrument for the rule in the last analysis of a comparatively
small class--the big property owners.
...Tested by it, the Soviet system clearly represents the
interests of the overwhelming majority of the population-- the workers
and peasants--as opposed to propertied classes,..."
Baldwin, Roger. Liberty Under the Soviets, New York: Vanguard
Press, 1928, p. 35

"One should keep in mind, however, that big incomes are still
extremely rare. Earning power may vary in the Soviet Union, according
to artistic or technical proficiency, but the extremes, as Louis Fisher
has pointed out, are very close. No such "spread" is conceivable in the
USSR as exists in Britain or America between say, a clerk in a factory
and its owner. Among all the 165 million Russians, there are probably
not ten men who earn $25,000 per year."
Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper &
Brothers, c1940, p. 567

"Yes, you're right, we have not yet built communist society.
It is not so easy to build such a society. You are probably aware of
the difference between socialist society and communist society. In
socialist society certain inequalities in property still exist. But in
socialist society there is no longer unemployment, no exploitation, no
oppression of nationalities. In socialist society everyone is obliged
to work, although he does not in return for his labor receive according
to his requirements, but according to the quantity and quality of the
work he has performed. That is why wages, and, moreover, unequal,
differentiated wages, still exist. Only when we have succeeded in
creating a system under which in return for their labor people will
receive from society, not according to the quantity and quality of the
labor they perform, but according to their requirements, will it be
possible to say that we have built communist society."
Stalin, J. The Stalin-Howard Interview. New York: International
Publishers, 1936, p. 11

"The railways, the length of whose permanent ways, in 1913, on
the territory now administered by the USSR, was about 36,500 miles, had
increased to about 48,200 miles. For the whole of the former territory
of Russia the mean increase in the workers wages was 16.9% over pre-war
figures. (Figures arrived at by taking purchasing-power into account)"
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935,
p. 155

"Now the 1928 Five-Year Plan, supported by colossal figures,
ended in four years by an achievement of 93 percent of its objectives.
As regards heavy industry, the achievement in four years amounted to 108
percent. National production trebled between 1928 and 1934. Pre-war
production was quadrupled by the end of 1933.
From 1928 to 1932 the number of workmen employed increased from
9,500,000 to 13,800,000 (an increase in important industries of
1,800,000, in agriculture of 1,100,000, and in commercial employees of
450,000) and, naturally, unemployment has become a thing of the past
The part played by industry in total production, that is to say
in relation to agricultural production, was 42 percent in 1913, 48
percent in 1928, and 70 percent in 1932.
The part played by the socialist industry in total industry at
the end of four years was 99.93%.
The national revenue has increased during the four years by 85
percent. At the end of the Plan, it was more than 45 billion rubles. A
year later 49 billion (1/2% being capitalist and foreign elements).
The amount of the workers' and employees' wages rose from 8
billion to 30 billion rubles.
The number of persons able to read and to write has risen, for
the whole of the USSR, from 67 percent at the end of 1930, to 90 percent
at the end of 1933.
Pause a moment and compare these figures, which testify to a
progress unique in the annals of the human race, with the virtuous
prophecies which figure above--Insolvency, Deadlock, Catastrophe,
Breakdown--all of which were uttered at a time when the Plan was almost
realized already--in spite of universal opposition."
Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935,
p. 194-195

"When he says that there are inequalities of wages and
privileges comparable with those under Tsarism he lies. You all know
it. No man has a sum of privileges in excess of any other. And wages
vary, but the worst-paid worker is not much less well-off than the best
paid. Remember, this is a transitional stage. We are on the way to our
Communist goal. Trotsky offers instead years of fruitless waiting for
political revolutions whose opportunity may well not be seizable. He
offers the workers of the world an abstraction. "
Edelman, Maurice. G.P.U. Justice. London: G. Allen & Unwin,
ltd.,1938, p. 136-148