Term Paper: Labor Policies

Pages: 9 (2462 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The [state] recognizes work to be the duty of all citizens of the republic and proclaims the watchword: "He who does not work shall not eat (First Constitution of the Soviet Union, 1918 http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~jobrien/reference/ob103.html)."

This labor policy sounds productive in the beginning but it actually takes away the ability to succeed (Janos, 1992). Those who might want to venture into their own business or those who decide to start companies with their friends or relatives cannot because they are bound by the law to labor. The policy was meant to protect the workers from having to support those who did not work, but in reality it is those who strike out on their own that often make it big. Bill Gates is a prime example of how the Soviet Union's labor policies helped to bring down the Soviet Union. The policies placed a choke hold on the workers and the ambitions so that they no longer had drive or desire to become someone financially successful.

The ability to compete is paramount to a society's financial success. People and societies thrive on competition and they do so because they are free to see how much money they can make using their skills. Whether it is a person working in a factory trying to get the bonus for the best productivity, or the man who starts his own software company in the basement of a friend, the ability to compete is what keeps a society from becoming stagnate.

The problems date back to the days of Stalin who was emphatic that a class system not be allowed to begin. The refusal to allow individual freedom even in the way one worked caused an apathy that eventually destroyed the nation.

To be sure, Stalin was correct in speaking of the sharpening of the class struggle. However, he saw the roots of this class struggle in the remnants of the destroyed class, in the imperialist countries abroad and in the consciousness lagging behind being. He did not analyze those roots, which lay in the production relations created by the Soviet power itself. But these roots were the main ones which later led to the downfall of the Soviet power (On the Development of the Productive Forces (http://www.mltranslations.org/Germany/susr04.htm)

They were based, as we shall see in a later installment, not only on the particular conditions in the Soviet Union. Class differences always result from the division of labor of the old society, which can not be completely overcome under socialism (and will be overcome completely only under communism), and these differences can lead to the downfall of socialism, if the working class loses the revolutionary initiative. In order to keep the initiative in their hand, the working class and its party also needs, among other things, a theory which scientifically analyzes the class differences which have their roots in the socialist production relations themselves. The Soviet working class and its party lacked such a theory (On the Development of the Productive Forces (http://www.mltranslations.org/Germany/susr04.htm)."

The downfall of the Soviet Union was in part due to the labor policies that it had in place (Miller, 1994). The promise of work, the compulsory labor policies, the promise of same pay to many people created an apathy that destroyed any hope of competition or improvement of life. It was something that created an apathetic attitude about productivity and success which led to the inability to stir the nation into growth. This failure to grow was the ultimate downfall of the Soviet Union and it was triggered by the labor policies that removed the desire to compete and improve. As the nation rebuilds it is important that it allow for free market competitiveness. It is only through the ability to climb to the top for individual workers can the nation itself ever hope to do so.

References

On the Development of the Productive Forces http://www.mltranslations.org/Germany/susr04.htm and the Class Relations in the Soviet Union by Elisabeth Wagner

Understanding political change in post-Soviet societies: A further commentary on Finifter and Mickiewicz. (response to Ada W. Finifter, American Political Science Review, vol. 90, p. 138, March 1996)

Arthur H. Reisinger, William M. Hesli, Vicki L.

Furtado, Charles F. 1994. "Nationalism and Foreign Policy in Ukraine." Political Science Quarterly 109:81-104.

Gibson, James L., Raymond M. Duch, and Kent L. Tedin. 1992. "Cultural Values and the Transformation of the Soviet Union." Journal of Politics 54:329-71.

Gibson, James L. 1995. "Political and Economic Markets: Connecting Attitudes Toward Political Democracy and a Market Economy Within the Mass Culture of Russia and Ukraine," University of Houston, unpublished manuscript.

Hahn, Jeffrey W. 1991. "Continuity and Change in Russian Political Culture." British Journal of Political Science 21:393-421.

Janos, Andrew C. 1992. "Social Science, Communism, and the Dynamics of Political Change." In Nancy Bermeo, ed., Liberalization of Democratization. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

First Constitution of the Soviet Union, 1918 http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~jobrien/reference/ob103.html

Miller, Arthur H., William M. Reisinger, and Vicki L. Hesli. 1993. Public Opinion and Regime Change: The New Politics of Post-Soviet Societies. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Miller, Arthur H., Vicki L. Hesli, and William M. Reisinger. 1994. "Reassessing Mass Support for Political and Economic Change in the Former USSR." American Political Science Review 88:399-411. [END OF PREVIEW]

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