The Political Economy of Utopia: Communism in Soviet Russia, 1918-1921

Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 91-138, 1990

48 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2010  

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 1990

Abstract

It has become a copybook maxim to assert that the policy of "War Communism" was imposed on the Bolsheviks by the Civil War and the foreign intervention. This is completely untrue, if only for the reason that the first decrees on introducing the "socialist ideal" exactly "according to Marx" in Soviet Russia were issued long before the beginning of the Civil War (the decrees of Jan. 26 and Feb. 14, 1918, on the nationalization of the merchant fleet and of all banks), while the last decree on the socialization of all small handicraftsmen and artisans was issued on Nov. 29, 1920, i.e., after the end of the Civil War in European Russia. Of course, the conditions of the Civil Wan and the intervention left an imprint. But the main thing was something else--the immediate implementation of theory in strict accordance with Marx (from "Critique of the Gotha Program") and Engles (from "Anti-During"). Siotkin-1989.

In the failure of War Comunism [sic] and the retreat to NEP the impossibility of the planning as articulated theoretically in the Mises-Hayek critique was directly demonstrated in practice. Don Lavoie-1986-87.

JEL Classification: B53, P30, P50, D02

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J., The Political Economy of Utopia: Communism in Soviet Russia, 1918-1921 (1990). Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 91-138, 1990. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1530894

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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