Communism and Consumerism: The Soviet Alternative to the by Timo Vihavainen, Elena Bogdanova

By Timo Vihavainen, Elena Bogdanova

Intake in Russia and the previous USSR has been in recent years studied as regards the pre-revolutionary and early Soviet interval. The heritage of Soviet intake and the Soviet number of consumerism within the 1950s-1990s has not often been studied in any respect. This publication concentrates at the past due Soviet interval however it additionally considers pre-WWII or even pre-revolutionary times.The e-book includes articles, which survey the longue durée of Russian and Soviet shopper attitudes, Soviet ideology of intake as indicated in texts touching on style, the area of Soviet type making plans and the survival techniques of the Soviet purchaser complaining opposed to sub-standard items and prone in a command economic system. there is additionally a case examine in regards to the makes use of of innovations with anti-consumerist content.

Contributors comprise: Lena Bogdanova, Olga Gurova, Timo Vihavainen and Larissa Zakharova.

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The hard reality behind such attitudes was that in a pre-modern society superfluous consumption was not sustainable; it really was the road to destruction. The Bible told how in Egypt seven prosperous years were followed by seven years of need. Every peasant would, in principle, understand the wisdom of this rule at any moment of history. Nature has always taught the peasant that a good harvest is not a reason to buy superfluous things. It’s better to put the extra grain aside. Someday the harvest will be poor and if there are no savings, people will perish.

58 Herzen loathed the bourgeoisie with an aristocratic contempt as a class of vulgar upstarts. 59 58 59 Walicki (1969), 11. , 11–12. The Spirit of Consumerism in Russia and the West 17 Unlike the narodniks, Herzen expected that Capitalism would ultimately yield an increased and growing level of material welfare, but, he argued, this would not be worthwhile, as it would come at a terrible price. A world of plenty did not mean a good world, for cheap goods and standardized consumption would be obtained at the cost of quality: ‘Everything – the theatre, holiday making, books, pictures, clothes, everything has gone down in quality and gone up terribly in numbers.

Everyday life in the Soviet Union obviously did not contain much coercion, but it was not easy to convince those in doubt that this was not due to the ubiquitous surveillance and threat of punishment. 7 8 9 10 11 See: Vihavainen (2006), 267–295. Gouldner (1970), 65. , 67–68. Scientific Communism (1983), 244–250. Lenin ([1918] 1964), 390–497. Scientific Communism (1983), 411. 12 In 1932, for instance, a new law introduced capital punishment for the pilfering of state property, for example, collecting corncobs from the kol­ khoz fields for one’s own nourishment.

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