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Soviet Union

Book Review: 'Nomenklatura - Anatomy of the Soviet Ruling Class'

Russia's Capitalists

'Nomenklatura: Anatomy of the Soviet Ruling Class', by Michael Voslensky, (The Bodley Head, £12.95)

Book Review: 'Lost Illusion'

Lost Illusion

'Lost Illusion', by Freda Utley (Allen & Unwin,  237 pages, 10s. 6d.)

The Working Class in Russia

All class societies are based on the separation of the producers from the means of production. Under capitalism the means of production and distribution monopolised by a minority function as “capital”, as wealth used to produce other wealth with a view to profit.

The source of this profit is the unpaid labour of the working class. Being excluded from the ownership and control of the means of production, the working class can only get a living by selling their ability to work, mental and physical, to a capitalist employer for a wage or salary. But this wage or salary, representing the value of the labour power they have sold, is less than the value of what they produce. The difference is surplus value and belongs to the capitalists who have bought the labour power. It is the source of their profits and of all other property and privilege incomes.

Inequality in Russia

Sir Rowland Evans, a Liberal politician, in a letter to 'The Times', stated that

    "Whereas statistics indicate that in Britain before the war the upper 10 per cent, of the population received 45 per cent, of the national income, an authoritative analysis of statistics published in the Soviet Press in 1939 showed that the upper 11 per cent, or 12 per cent, of the Soviet population then received approximately 50 per cent, of the national income." (Times, December 15, 1942)

One correspondent challenged the figures on the ground that the rural population ought to be excluded as it is impossible in rural areas to find members of an upper category. He claimed therefore that what the figures would really show would be that in the towns

    "every third worker or employee or member of their families . . . belongs to an upper category, similar to the upper 10 per cent, of the population in Great Britain." (Times, December 16, 1942)

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