Comparative economics question answer
1) Marx saw private ownership of the means of production (i.e. industry) as the source of
capitalism’s problems. Describe what “returns to the factors of production” were like in his
day, and how that might have brought about a collapse of capitalism. (How did the returns to
these factors impact their ability to consume?)
2) How has ownership of (and returns to) the factors of production (land, labor, capital) changed
in western countries since Marx’ time. Can that explain why capitalism did not collapse as
Marx had predicted?
3) Marx seemed to think that the dialectical changes in society (Thesis – Antithesis – Synthesis
– Thesis – …) generally occurred in big jumps (Feudalism – Capitalism – Communism). Did
the changes discussed in question 2 above occur in big (revolutionary) steps? How might the
presence (or absence) of democracy have influenced this process?
4) Describe the Soviet New Economic Plan (NEP) of the 1920’s: What industries were
nationalized? What was left in private hands? Was private trade allowed?
5) How did agricultural output compare to industrial output during NEP? Why was this a cause
for concern for the Bolsheviks?
6) Describe the industrialization debate between Bukharin and Preobrazhinski. What positions
did each of these gentlemen take?
7) When it comes to running the factory, how did Lenin’s view compare to that of Marx? What
role did the ideas of Fredric Taylor and Henry Ford play in forming the Bolshevik view?
8) Describe how the collectivization of agriculture was intended to foster industrial growth.
9) How did the administrative command system give rise to the “shadow Economy”? How did
the shadow economy foster the rise of the oligarchs during Russia’s transition to capitalism?
10) How did the planning process lead to inefficient overuse of production inputs?
11) Who were the nomenklatura and what was their role in industry under the administrative
Ec 412 Spring 2016 Final Review Sheet
Dr. McLaren Page 2
12) Why did the privatization of Russia’s industries fail to bring in the needed foreign investment
13) How did Boris Berezovski and Vladimir Guzinski accumulate their fortunes? What (if any)
physical (or intellectual) capital did they produce in return?
14) Putin has been criticized by western observers for being autocratic. From the perspective of
a typical Russian citizen in the 1990’s, explain why (or why not) Putin’s autocracy might be