thumbnail of Report from Russia; Dr. Francis Boddy
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Report from Russia E-W Zeebox dean of the summer session at the University of Minnesota and 10 other university faculty members recently completed a 30 day 9000 mile trip to the Soviet Union. The trip was financed by a grant from the family foundation of St. Paul. While in Russia Dean Ziebart interviewed his colleagues and obtained their first hand impressions for this program. Now here is Dean Zeb on the bark peeking from Iraq and the Soviet Union. Dr. Francis but a professor of economics at the University of Minnesota has been spending a good bit of time over the last three weeks investigating various aspects of the Soviet economy and I'd like to add with damn productive knowledge entirely informally about kind of the things good here discovered about the Soviet economy things in which not only those of us who are here Soviet Union but people all over the United States could be very much interested in the productive but a
lot of the things that can current a little bit about which we have a very real interest in an economy of this kind rather tightly controlled there in actual actual progress control so I mean centralized that it makes operations simpler market. I've been interested in this problem too and I wonder whether you very briefly. Because interviews are entirely collective farms that we have visited and of course these people tend to last things the way things are supposed to work rather than perhaps the way they actually do work which they told us the same story and a very positive way that they said it seems to me to place a good deal of statement that comes out of the
reorganization which was carried forward last year has had a real impact on individual factory managers and managers of the plans that we visit in the reorganization. Here you're referring among other things to the practice of decentralization perhaps in production and control of one of the interesting things we found is that they do not call a decentralization here they talk about it entirely as reorganization but the effect of it was to disperse much or most of the employees and staffs of the ministries where the control and center must go to some for Economic Council scattered around the country. Councils might be thought of as I sort of county organization or perhaps larger than county organization in terms of the American structure and most of them to three or four Subdistricts but the control is theoretically at least largely centered at these local organizations
national ministries and wield a control structure in your opinion. Well it has a very great strength in one aspect and that is that the operations within the district are very much speeded up and become much less unwieldly on the other hand the interrelationships between the districts I'm sure are going to result in either the creation of more apparatus to handle old problems or the problems themselves will get out of one of the things they initiate talking with directors factory business. Organization and collective farm which they are a part of their faction. We've been calling for a decentralization what they call the reorganization. So your experience seem to be sort of personally delighted with it as well as thinking it was a much more efficient system example of the
sort of thing that obviously is of great advantage to the contrast between the way operations were handled years ago that. This was a factory we visited and discussed as a hypothetical situation which I suspected. A problem such as the following. The factories operating costs of the defense for its headlights supplier and gear which is another economic district previously the questions of increasing the supply of red lights would have had to be settled by at least three different ministries in Moscow each one of which were the problems and the decision being made primarily national policy basis with the so-called centralization or reorganization. They can now work through their own regional economic council which gets in touch with the Regional Economic Council in Kiev and worked out the problems of using the capacity of
that factory on a very much more rapid and very much more informal basis. The second impact of that is that I'm quite sure that a tremendous amount of the work is now done by personal contact and all instead of a rather detailed and time consuming written correspondence and documents flowing up through channels of ministry to minister level to look for further development in the same direction are it impossible for you if I make any judgment about that. It's really hard to say what is likely to happen because if it goes a lot farther in the same direction. It seems to me to lead a quite new direction to the whole Russian economy. That is a centrally planned system the centralized planning seems to be almost a contradiction in terms to the extent that you get the development of a really simple ization it seems to me that something equivalent to a market system is going to be created to handle the problems of interlocking
the decentralized unit that is precisely the reason I raised this question there have been some informal comments from people to whom I talked about this looking forward to precisely the kind of thing developing and I wondered whether you had any notions about this or whether this is the kind of attitude they like to make. I certainly would make a comment very positive on the subject in the USSR at least it seems to me one of the rather queer things to look forward to perhaps it seems to me almost impossible to suppose that the doctrine of central centrally planned economy is going to be given up. And it seems to me more likely that what is being attempted here is merely a shift in the direction of the center as a. Do handle some of the problems of interrelationships elitism the more centralized planning good and better probably will not be permitted to go so far as to really destroy the whole concept of a
basically centrally planned system but it is possible for it to take a shot at the broad general question which would have very great interest ensured back in the United States and that is a level of efficiency a wish they'd operation which is actually proceeding. I know this is the kind of question which would make any gun a shutter and a you may be quite accurate and expect a negative reply. But there would be one to general matter. I mean but short of efficient use of mine. I think to myself fairly casual visitor of factories and other things of this sort it seems to me that man. We stood by American standards in every plan and we on the other hand it's awfully hard to discount this feeling for the fact that the
availability of equipment and particularly the availability of the standard methods of management control seem to be very scarce and some extent absent in this country. So how much of it is due to just lack of. Techniques and machinery for making that apparent effective use of manpower. We see celebrity status and how much of it is just backwardness in the USSR is very hard to sort out. I rather suspect that we from my own personal opinions and those of the others some of the same opinions are somewhat exaggerated. This waste is perhaps not as wasteful as it looks to us it is really different. Great for an activity to speak is primarily about the use of raw materials and the marketing of a finished product is this procedure and the great efficient their knowledge they have been able to tell us that it's a very interesting question because what do you mean by efficiency here is
this is openness. I rather suspect that in terms of actual production of things that are not you do not want very little of this takes place. I rather suspect that very little actual waste use of resources takes place which we don't know is whether or not things that are most wanted or the things that are being produced because voice of the consumer is a relatively weak voice under such a system. And certainly our interviews with the trading people or department store people for example employed at least that the pressures of the consumer for particular particular styles and so forth has led to what we see at least in this business surprising increase the availability of quantity and of different styles and plates of consumer goods stores they are
dated one example illustrated by the production of fashion show along with a utility factory for example. Yes the state also added that the manager pointed out that a rather high proportion I forget now but something 40 percent or so. These were the ones of the greatest. Also we've heard about occasional scene waiting to stores. Well one explanation was that quality shoes are scarce and the stylesheet reading queue were too short. Apparently that is not the problem at least so we are told by people in terms of consumer goods that they'll ability in general doc about a very substantial number that is reasonably priced consumer goods
available more than would be generally in the States to be available here. For this question I've been rather short for example it seems to me to be the high prices of any quality men's clothing particularly. Rather actually the shoe factory I believe was marked to sell four hundred sixty five roubles which I tend to write with the 26. It will be the kind of issue that. Perhaps Excel or Word or state this is an example it seems to me as are the suits which sold for anywhere. Hundred one thousand nine hundred two to three thousand roubles. When you consider that the average pay of the worker in these factories is on the order of a hundred brace is a very high indeed. Second fact which. Illustrates the problem of judging the relative supply of consumer goods.
People with whom we have discussed living standards. Have indicated to. Me food because it takes up to 70 percent. There seems to be in the stores a rather substantial variety of consumer goods for the workers very much of such things are very difficult to make judgments about making much more informal study of these things are very difficult to do it because it is difficult because the basic fabric for example coloring which is really a difference in taste the material factory or cereal stores in Brazil seem to be pretty good.
Second there any generalization what you're willing to make at this point about the Soviet economy or an entirely pre-mature question in terms of any final answer it's going to be premature. The rest of my life. One thing I would agree that we seem to see a surprising compared We might have expected. Thanks very much body weight and body of the Soviet Union I guess. Dr. Francis body professor of economics at the University of Minnesota thank you get back to coming here. You heard E-W Zeebox dean of the summer session at the University of Minnesota in another recorded report from Russia. Another report will be heard next week at this time. This series is edited by station KUNM University of Minnesota. The programs are distributed to the station through the facilities of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is
Report from Russia
Dr. Francis Boddy
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-td9n792r).
Episode Description
E.W. Ziebarth speaks to Dr. Francis Boddy about the time he has spent in the Soviet Union.
Other Description
E.W. Ziebarth, Dean of the summer session at University of Minnesota, and ten other faculty members embarked upon a month-long trip through the Soviet Union. Ziebarth interviewed his peers about their thoughts on the trip.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
Public Affairs
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Host: Ziebarth, E. W. (Elmer William), 1910-
Interviewee: Boddy, Francis M. (Francis Murray), 1906-
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: KUOM (Radio station : Minneapolis, Minn.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-17-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:29
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Report from Russia; Dr. Francis Boddy,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “Report from Russia; Dr. Francis Boddy.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: Report from Russia; Dr. Francis Boddy. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from