Courtesy Reuters

The Balance Sheet of the Five Year Plan

THE Soviet Five Year Plan of national development (shortened in practice to a four-and-a-quarter year plan) came to an end December 31, 1932. In retrospect we see that the adoption of this gigantic blue print for the regulation of every branch of social, economic and educational activity was one of the three most important dates in the history of the Russian revolution, the other two being the Bolshevik revolution itself on November 7, 1917, and the acceptance of Lenin's New Economic Policy in March 1921. Variously interpreted as a hope, a menace, a warning, a challenge and a chimera, the Plan has focussed foreign eyes on the Soviet Union. The interest which it has aroused has naturally been enhanced because it has coincided with a world crisis of unprecedented severity.

Although final figures will not be available for several months, it is already possible to strike a rough balance-sheet of success and failure. Plainly the Plan can neither be hailed as an unqualified triumph nor dismissed as a dismal and complete defeat. Under the pressure of circumstances, some external and some internal, the Plan has developed along lines very different from those which its makers foresaw. It was originally conceived as a program that would simultaneously push ahead the industrial and the agricultural development of the country; moreover, it was to increase greatly industrial output and at the same time raise the general standard of living. In practice, agriculture has been sacrificed to industry; while the unmistakably rapid largescale industrial construction which has been achieved has been at the expense of an equally unmistakable deterioration in the general living standard. The Five Year Plan has been conspicuously successful in dotting the country with big new factories and power plants, in drawing masses of the peasants into the new collective farms, in averting the widespread unemployment and the paralysis of new constructive enterprise that have been the scourge of America and Western Europe during the last three years. It has proved conspicuously unsuccessful in giving the average

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