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Marxist Economics Transition in Practice

QUESTION: Marxist Economics – The Transition in Practice


The transition to a communist society in actuality has not been smooth. In 1918, Marxists attempted to rapidly institute socialism in Russia by seizing land from its owners. The Soviet constitution proclaimed “all private property in land is abolished, and the entire land is declared to be national property and is to be apportioned among agriculturists without any compensation to the former owners, in the measure of each one’s ability to till it.”1

Lenin realized quickly that the Russian economy would never survive such a rapid move to socialism. In 1921, he declared, “We are no longer attempting to break up the old social economic order, with its trade, its small-scale economy and private initiative, its capitalism, but we are now trying to revive trade, private enterprise, and capitalism, at the same time gradually and cautiously subjecting them to state regulation just as far as they revive.”2

Marxist Economics – A Transition by Force
Lenin was also quick to justify his reasons for this move backwards toward capitalism. He says, “Capitalism is an evil in comparison with socialism, but capitalism is a blessing in comparison with medievalism, with small industry, with fettered small producers thrown to the mercy of bureaucracy.”3 Lenin explained that before Russia could arrive at pure communism, it must revert to capitalism and advance through its stages.

During the transition period, Lenin experimented with a number of social methods to hasten the arrival of socialism and communism. In trying to find the best method for dealing with those who did not do their fair share of the work, he suggested imprisonment, forced labor, and “one out of every ten idlers will be shot on the spot.”4


Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Harry W. Laidler, History of Socialism (New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968), 384.
2 Pravda, Nov. 7, 1921.
3 Laidler, History of Socialism, 390.
4 V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, 45 vols. (Moscow, USSR: Progress Publishers, 1980), 26:414—5.

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