“More Great Goods to the People! Better Work for This Year after Year!” the Soviet Alternative to the Western Society of Mass Consumption (1960s — 1970s)
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“More Great Goods to the People! Better Work for This Year after Year!” the Soviet Alternative to the Western Society of Mass Consumption (1960s — 1970s)
Annotation
PII
S207987840020454-8-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Irina Aggeeva 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract

The “mass consumption society” which arose in the Western industrially developed countries in the middle of the twentieth century was viewed by the Soviet Union as a form of anti-communism in the logic of the opposing systems competition and Cold War rivalry. Experiencing permanent difficulties with consumer sector the USSR opposed the new concepts with a comprehensive preventive alternative in the broad ideological and socio-economic context of a “developed socialist society”. The socialist version of the future prosperity presupposed a breakthrough in the development of the industries of the “B” group, the formation of socialist values, idealistic personal consumption, spiritual and cultural growth, the priority of public interests, and a selfless communist devotion to job. The archival documents reveal that the attractiveness of Western prosperity and the departure from the reforms of the mid-1960s, which did not change the absolute adherence to the principles of central planning and single public property, served as a catalyst for the strengthening of the ideological components of economic policy and further degradation of the production sphere. Material incentives were replaced by conscientiousness and patriotism. “Socialist competition” and communist “subbotniks” completely turned into a kind of “voluntary-compulsory” uncompensated labor in favor of the state. The USSR failed to solve the problems of unsatisfied consumer demand with the help of the Comecon countries, which were experiencing similar difficulties. The Soviet search for progressive answers to “mass consumption” had an important by-product, the scientific research of anthropogenic influence on the climate, responsible, balanced consumption, environmental protection, conservation of natural resources aimed at sustainable development. The accumulated experience is relevant for the 21st century, the beginning of which was marked by global pandemics and crises of planetary scale associated with the spread of consumerism to new states and territories.

Keywords
USSR, economy, ideology, mass consumption society, developed socialist society, CMEA, reformism, “hozraschet”
Received
03.09.2021
Publication date
30.05.2022
Number of characters
89389
Number of purchasers
3
Views
246
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0.0 (0 votes)
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