Entrepreneurship in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union

Entrepreneurship in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union

Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Entrepreneurship in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union
    Book Description:

    This multidisciplinary study of entrepreneurship in Russian society from the sixteenth to the twentieth century demonstrates the crucial influence of central government on economic initiative.

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5528-5
    Subjects: History, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
    • II The Russian Entrepreneur in the Tsarist Period: An Overview
      (pp. 13-26)

      Like the much more familiar Russian soldier or monk, the man who organized and acted for economic rather than military or religious objectives was ubiquitous to the long span of Russian history. Until most recent times, however, he was relegated by scholars to the shadows of a largely political historical stage, and by his fellow Russians to an “inferior position . . . in Russian society.”¹ At the very beginning, it would seem that enterprise was an important and highly esteemed activity of the Russians. In the medieval Russia of Kiev and Novgorod, however much scholars have debated the primacy...

    • III Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship In Sixteenth/Seventeenth-Century Russia
      (pp. 27-58)

      If the title of this chapter raises some eyebrows, that is a tribute to the strength of a historiographical tradition which envisages Muscovite Russia as a commercially and industrially backward country in which, necessarily, businessmen and entrepreneurial activity could play only an insignificant role. The tradition owes much to the mutually reinforcing writings of such foreign observers of Muscovy as Giles Fletcher, Iurii Krizhanich, and Johann Phillip Kilburger. Fletcher (1590) portrayed the Russian merchants as a group with low status and no power (“no better than servants or bond slaves”), whom the tsars regularly fleeced; and, since accumulation under these...

    • IV Entrepreneurship and the Structure of Enterprise in Russia, 1800-1880
      (pp. 59-85)

      This survey of Russian entrepreneurship has three specific goals: to offer a terminological dichotomy between “traditional” and “modern” forms of business activity; to examine the cultural and economic determinants, in the Russian setting, of what David Landes once called “the structure of enterprise”;¹ and to discuss whether and to what extent the Russian merchants qualified as Schumpeterian entrepreneurs in the 1800-1880 period.

      One is tempted, in view of Professor Baron’s vivid description and analysis of the merchants of old Muscovy, to imagine Shorin or one of his fellows resurrected in the mid-nineteenth century in Kitaigorod (the commercial district near Red...

    • V Socializing for Modernization in a Multiethnic Elite
      (pp. 84-103)

      The Russian experience in economic development, like that of other societies, has been highly complex. Certainly one component has been the role of the entrepreneur. Yet, this role itself is a very complex one; failure to separate the many components of the role and to define them analytically has probably caused even more mischief in Russian studies than in examinations of other polities. This chapter rests on considerable thought and a limited amount of research on topics close to the theme of entrepreneurial response. There is no intention, however, of presenting a research report on entrepreneurs in the Russian polity,...

    • VI Notes on Jewish Entrepreneursbip in Tsarist Russia
      (pp. 104-124)

      It is incumbent upon an economic historian dealing with a particular area of economic activity to put the activity and the participants of the economic process not only in a historical context but also within categories of a body of economic theory. Thus, by focusing upon the phenomenon of entrepreneurship of individuals who shared a common religious, cultural, or national heritage, in this case the Jewish one, it is still necessary to explain, or argue in which sense their activities can be considered entrepreneurial.

      Economists and economic historians have variously described the entrepreneurial function emphasizing different aspects of those functions...

    • VII The Economic Policy of the Tsarist Government and Enterprise in Russia from the End of the Nineteenth through the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
      (pp. 125-139)

      The reforms of the 1860s created conditions necessary for the development of capitalism in Russia. The construction of railroads and the growth of industrial enterprises, banks, and joint-stock companies were conducive to the emergence of a new type of businessman and the rise of entrepreneurial organizations.

      Having exerted a tremendous influence on the country’s economic structure, the reforms of the 1860s had little effect on the system of state government. Until the first Russian Revolution (1905-07), there was neither a unified government nor a representative institution in Russia. In the 1860s, as in the beginning of the 1900s, the tsar...

    • VIII Foreign Participation in Russian Economic Life: Notes on British Enterprise, 1865-1914
      (pp. 140-158)

      Russian economic historians have often given special emphasis to the role that the government assumed in the period 1885-1903 in shaping Russian economic development. In the absence of a vigorous, competitive market which would develop the creative, developmental energies of native businessmen, the government itself undertook to provide economic leadership and to draw into Russia the energy of foreign enterprise. Minister of Finance Witte argued that successfully attracting foreign enterprise would force the emergence of a native entrepreneurial spirit, a spirit which would eliminate the need for government initiative and foreign enterprise. Thus foreign enterprise—capital, technique, personnel—was central...

    • IX Russian Industrialists during World War I: The Interaction of Economics and Politics
      (pp. 159-190)

      The outbreak of World War I came at a critical time for the Russian industrialists. Their relations with a government that appeared to them to be singularly unsympathetic to their problems were strained as they had not been since 1905, while longstanding tensions with the landowning and laboring classes were also rapidly increasing in severity. Underlying these difficulties, but by no means explaining their source, which lay deeply imbedded in the Russian entrepreneurial past, was the new period of industrial expansion that began in 1910—a period marked by shortages in key industrial commodities, spiraling prices, and a growing militancy...

    • X Entrepreneurship in the Soviet Period: An Overview
      (pp. 191-200)

      A decade before the Bolshevik RevolutionIl Giornale degli Economistipublished an article by Enrico Barone entitled “The Ministry of Production in the Collectivist State.” In the article, which eventually became a seminal work in the development of the economic theory of socialism, Barone proved that in a collectivist society that wished to maximize the welfare of its people “all the economic categories of the old regime must reappear, though maybe with new names: prices, interest, rent, profit, saving, etc.”¹ Barone did not deal with entrepreneurship, but had he done so he would surely have come to the same conclusion....

    • XI The Red-Expert Debate: Continuities in the State-Entrepreneur Tension
      (pp. 201-222)

      In his brilliant though controversial history of Russian culture, James H. Billington describes the period of the 1930s as the “Revenge of Muscovy.” This cogent analysis is also in many ways descriptive of the changes that were taking place in the sphere of economic activity at the end of the twenties. The Stalin period has often been described as the second revolution—in Lenin’s terms, the political revolution had been secured so attention could now be turned to the economic revolution and the creation of a new society and the new Soviet man. Although it would be fascinating, I will...

    • XII Institutional Innovation and Economic Management: The Soviet Incentive System, 1921 to the Present
      (pp. 223-257)

      This chapter concentrates upon one particular sphere of innovation: innovation in the structure of incentives given to the managers of individual Soviet enterprises by the large “firm” of USSR Incorporated, which can be considered as binding together in an administrative unity the various hierarchical levels of nonagricultural, and especially industrial, activity. Clearly, all innovation in this domain is the responsibility of hierarchical levels above the enterprise level; thus it is only at these levels that we find “entrepreneurial” activity as I define it by my focus of interest. Such entrepreneurial activity may be carried out by individuals whose posts range...

    • XIII The Soviet Farm Manager as an Entrepreneur
      (pp. 258-283)
      ROY D. and BETTY A. LAIRD

      In this study we will attempt to examine the farm manager² in his entrepreneurial capacity and determine the degree to which he functions as an organizer and manager, and to which he assumes risk.

      Although space limitations do not allow more than a cursory look at the essential elements of a Soviet farm, a brief discussion of some of the basics is required in order to put entrepreneurship in the countryside in perspective.

      There is a great historical paradox about rural Russia (and much of the rest of the USSR). Imposition of the socialist sovkhozy and kolkhozy on the villages...

    • XIV The Party as Manager and Entrepreneur
      (pp. 284-305)

      Jerry Hough’s masterful study of the “Soviet prefects”² drove home to sovietologists the realization that the Soviet economy—the vaunted principle ofedinonachalienotwithstanding—is in fact managed simultaneously by two parallel hierarchies, the economic-administrative hierarcy and that of the Party. In common with other political scientists, he naturally tends to look at the problem of Party-management relations from the standpoint of the Party’s role in society and of the historical evolution of that role.³ In his analysis, Hough draws on the prior work of certain economists, particularly the classic studies by Granick⁴ and Berliner.⁵ On their part, these and...

    • XV Organizing for Technological Innovation in the 1980s
      (pp. 306-346)

      Technological innovation has become a dominant issue on the Kremlin’s political agenda in the 1980s. Early in the last decade Brezhnev singled out the application of R & D results as the most important but also the most deficient aspect of Soviet science and technology policy. “If we examine all the links of the intricate chain that binds science to production, we shall easily see that the weakest links are those relating to the practical realization of scientific achievements, to their adoption in mass production.” It was necessary, the general secretary stressed, “to create conditions compelling enterprises to manufacture the...

    • XVI Economic Innovation in lmperial Russia and the Soviet Union: Observations
      (pp. 347-360)

      Every society must confront the problem of ordering the use of its human, natural, and technological resources to satisfy the material needs of its members. That ordering of productive activities can take many forms. A broad typology of economic systems can differentiate those forms according to the degree to which economic units have autonomy in determining the uses and disposal of the factors of production and output under their jurisdiction. Such units can be individuals, firms, productive associations,sovkhozyor other corporate and associational forms. In the West, that autonomy of action has been relatively large, and Western societies have...

  6. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 361-362)
  7. Index
    (pp. 363-372)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 373-373)