A major legend of Soviet ideology has it that the rule over production in the USSR is qualitatively different from that of private capitalism. In Factory and Manager in the U.S.S.R., Professor Joseph Berliner of Syracuse University has written a most valuable study of the actual operating conditions in the Soviet factory; and the facts he advances show that, for many purposes, the similarities between modes of management at the plant level under private (Western) and state (Russian) capitalism are at least as important as the differences.
In preparing his book Professor Berliner made use of data derived from interviews with emigres who had once been managers and technicians in Soviet factories. Their ac• counts of their job experiences were then extensively supplemented and thus “controlled’ by information culled from Soviet journals—so that it is impossible to dismiss this material on the ground that it comes from “hostile” sources.
It is the similarities in managerial rule that are most striking, yet to understand them one has first to glance at some of the differences. Because of the scarcity of virtually all kinds of consumer goods as well as capital goods, selling products has no...
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