The Political Economy of Development Strategy: The Soviet Industrialization Debate, 1924–28

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Abstract

With Lenin incapacitated from a series of strokes in 1922 and 1923, and then with his death in January 1924, a bitter power struggle occurred within the leadership of the Communist Party. On the level of ideas, the struggle took the form of the Soviet Industrialization Debate, where leading party economists and nonparty economists debated strategies for economic growth and development. Although much of the analysis of the debate focused on the political struggle for power, the consequence was more profound than just the political maneuvering of Stalin. The debates and controversies of the 1920s contain much that is of importance to economic and intellectual historians. As Alec Nove points out, “Development economics could be said to have been born here.”1