Lenin On a Socialist Economy

Quotations from Lenin's publications


Remarks On the Draft "Propositions Concerning the Management of Nationalised Enterprises"  

June 2, 1918 


Communism demands and presupposes maximum centralization of large-scale industry throughout the country. The all-Russia center must, unconditionally, therefore, be given the right to place all enterprises of a given branch under its direct control. The regional centers will determine their functions depending on local, everyday and other conditions in accordance with the instructions and decisions of the center.

To deprive the all-Russia center of the right of immediate control over all enterprises of a given branch in all parts of the country, as is implied in the commission's draft proposals, would be regional anarcho-syndicalism, and not communism.

  source: Marxists.org Internet Archive


The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution    
Written: April 4, 1917,   Published: Pravda No. 26, April 7, 1917

Confiscation of all landed estates. Nationalization of all lands in the country, ..... The organization of separate Soviets of Deputies of Poor Peasants. The setting up of a model farm on each of the large estates (ranging in size from 100 to 300 desiatines, according to local and other conditions, and to the decisions of the local bodies) under the control of the Soviets of Agricultural Laborers' Deputies and for the public account.

The immediate union of all banks in the country into a single national bank, and the institution of control over it by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies.

 It is not our immediate task to "introduce" socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies.


Nationalisation of the Banks and Capitalist Syndicates. Under no circumstances can the party of the proletariat set itself the aim of "introducing" socialism in a country of small peasants so long as the overwhelming majority of the population has not come to realize the need for a socialist revolution.

Such measures as the nationalisation of the land, of all the banks and capitalist syndicates, or, at least, the immediate establishment of the control of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, etc., over them -- measures which do not in any way constitute the "introduction" of socialism -- must be absolutely insisted on, and, whenever possible, carried out in a revolutionary way.

Without such measures, which are only steps towards socialism, and which are perfectly feasible economically, it will be impossible to heal the wounds caused by the war and to avert the impending collapse; and the party of the revolutionary proletariat will never hesitate to lay hands on the fabulous profits of the capitalists and bankers, who are enriching themselves on the war in a particularly scandalous manner. 

source: Marxists.org Internet Archive


Draft decree on the nationalisation of the banks and on measures necessary for its implementation

Written not earlier than December 14 (27), 1917


The critical food situation and the threat of famine caused by the profiteering and sabotage of the capitalists and officials, as well as by the general economic ruin, make it imperative to adopt extraordinary revolutionary measures to combat this evil.
............ the following regulations are decreed:


1. All joint-stock companies are proclaimed the property of the state.


2. Members of boards and directors of joint-stock companies, as well as all shareholders belonging to the wealthy classes (i.e., possessing property to the value of over 5,000 rubles or an income exceeding 500 rubles per month), shall be obliged to continue to conduct the affairs of these enterprises in good order, observing the law on workers' control, presenting all shares to the State Bank and submitting to the local Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies weekly reports on their activities.


3. State loans, foreign and domestic, are annulled (abrogated).


4. The interests of small holders of bonds and all kinds of shares, i.e., holders belonging to the working classes of the population, shall be fully guaranteed.


5. Universal labour conscription is introduced. All citizens of both sexes between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five shall be obliged to perform work assigned to them by the local Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, or by other bodies of Soviet power.


6. As a first step towards the introduction of universal labour conscription, it is decreed that members of the wealthy classes (see point 2) shall be obliged to keep, and have entries properly made in, consumer-worker books, or worker budget books, which must be presented to the appropriate workers' organisations or to the local Soviets and their bodies for weekly recording of the performance of work undertaken by each.


7. For the purpose of proper accounting and distribution of food and other necessities, every citizen of the state shall be obliged to join a consumers' society. The food boards, committees of supplies and other similar organisations, as well as the railway and transport unions, shall, under the direction of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, establish supervision to ensure the observance of the present law. Members of the wealthy classes, in particular, shall be obliged to perform the work to be assigned to them by the Soviets in the sphere of organising and conducting the affairs of the consumers' societies.


8. The railway workers' and employees' unions shall he obliged urgently to draw up and immediately begin to carry into effect emergency measures for the better organisation of transport, particularly as regards the delivery of food, fuel and other prime necessities, and shall be guided in the first place by the instructions and orders of the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies and then of the bodies authorised by the latter, and of the Supreme Economic Council. Similarly, the railway unions, working in conjunction with the local Soviets, shall be responsible for most vigorously combating speculation in food and mercilessly suppressing all profiteering, not hesitating to adopt revolutionary measures.


9. Workers' organisations, unions of office employees and local Soviets shall be obliged immediately to set about switching enterprises which are closing down or are to be demobilised, and also unemployed workers to useful work and the production of necessities, and to search for orders, raw materials and fuel. While under no circumstances postponing either this work or the beginning of the exchange of farm produce for industrial goods pending receipt of special instructions from higher bodies, the local unions and Soviets shall be strictly guided by the orders and instructions of the Supreme Economic Council.


10. Members of the wealthy classes shall be obliged to keep all their monetary possessions in the State Bank and its branches, or in the savings-banks, and shall be entitled to withdraw not more than 100-l25 rubles a week (as shall be established by the local Soviets) for living expenses; withdrawals for the needs of production and trade shall be made only on presentation of written certificates of the organs of workers' control. To supervise the due observance of the present law, regulations will be introduced providing for the exchange of existing currency notes for new currency notes. All the property of persons guilty of deceiving the state and the people shall be confiscated.


11. All offenders against the present law, saboteurs and government officials who go on strike, as well as profiteers, shall be liable to a similar penalty, and also to imprisonment, dispatch to the front, or hard labour. The local Soviets and bodies under their jurisdiction shall urgently decide upon the most revolutionary measures to combat these real enemies of the people.


12. The trade unions and other organisations of the working people, in conjunction with the local Soviets, and with the collaboration of the most reliable persons recommended by Party and other organisations, shall form mobile groups of inspectors to supervise the implementation of the present law, to verify the quantity and quality of work performed and to bring to trial before the revolutionary courts persons guilty of violating or evading the law. The workers and office employees of the nationalised enterprises must exert every effort and adopt extraordinary measures to improve the organisation of the work, strengthen discipline and raise the productivity of labour. The organs of workers' control are to present to the Supreme Economic Council weekly reports on the results achieved in this respect. Those found guilty of shortcomings and neglect are to be brought before revolutionary courts. 

source: Marxists.org Internet Archive


Draft Regulations On Workers' Control

26 or 27 of October 1917


1. Workers' control over the production, storage, purchase and sale of all products and raw materials shall be introduced in all industrial, commercial, banking, agricultural and other enterprises employing not less than five workers and office employees (together), or with an annual turnover of not less than 10,000 rubles.


2. Workers' control shall be exercised by all the workers and office employees of an enterprise, either directly, if the enterprise is small enough to permit it, or through their elected representatives, who shall be elected immediately at general meetings, at which minutes of the elections shall be taken and the names of those elected communicated to the government and to the local Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies.


3. Unless permission is given by the elected representatives of the workers and office employees, the suspension of work of an enterprise or an industrial establishment of state importance (see Clause 7), or any change in its operation is strictly prohibited.


4. The elected representatives shall be given access to all books and documents and to all warehouses and stocks of materials, instruments and products, without exception.


5. The decisions of the elected representatives of the workers and office employees are binding upon the owners of enterprises and may be annulled only by trade unions and their congresses.


6. In all enterprises of state importance all owners and all representatives of the workers and office employees elected for the purpose of exercising workers' control shall be answerable to the state for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property. Persons guilty of dereliction of duty, concealment of stocks, accounts, etc., shall be punished by the confiscation of the whole of their property and by imprisonment for a term of up to five years.


7. By enterprises of state importance are meant all enterprises working for defence, or in any way connected with the manufacture of articles necessary for the existence of the masses of the population. 


8. More detailed rules on workers' control shall be drawn up by the local Soviets of Workers' Deputies and by conferences of factory committees, and also by committees of office employees at general meetings of their representatives.

Lenin Internet Archive November, 2000


Theses on Banking Policy

Written: March or April, 1918


Theses on Banking Policy were approved at one of the meetings between Lenin and bank employees that took place in March and April 1918. The theses were drawn up by Lenin in the form of minutes, with notes on the results of the voting on the various points and any special opinions expressed by those taking part. The Decree on the nationalisation of the banks was passed on December 14 (27), 1917 by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.

A report to be compiled of what has been received in private banks, including in the report the liquidation of all affairs of each private bank. (Unanimous.) The former staff (the Commissariat for the State Bank having the right to remove some employees) of each private bank will be given an ultimatum requiring them to put in order in a very brief period of time all the affairs of the bank and to draw up a balance sheet in final form, firstly for December 14, 1917, and, secondly, for the last day of operations.

Private banks, in fulfilling this function of compiling reports and liquidating all affairs of the bank, act exclusively as branches of the united People's Bank of the Russian Republic and only for the purpose of liquidation, without carrying out any new operations. (Hanecki and Gukovsky and Lenin.)

All the work of compiling reports to be under the supervision of the Commissariat for the State Bank. The largest possible number of experienced collaborators to be invited, including former employees of the State Bank and private banks. (Unanimous.)

Banking policy, without being confined to nationalisation of the banks, must gradually but steadily be directed towards converting the banks into a single apparatus for accounting and regulation of the socialistically organised economic life of the country as a whole.

Full preservation of workers' control with regard to withdrawal of money from the banks.

Limitation of withdrawals of money for consumer purposes to be retained.

Lenin Works Archive


Basic Proposition on Economic and Especially on Banking Policy

April 1918


Completion of nationalisation of industry and exchange. Nationalisation of banks and gradual transition to socialism. Compulsory organisation of the population in consumer co-operative societies. {+Commodity exchange} Accounting and control of production and distribution of goods. Labour discipline. {+Tax policy}


Measures for transition to compulsory current accounts or to compulsory keeping of money in the banks.

Compulsory organisation of the population in consumer co-operative societies and measures for transition to this.

Conditions of an agreement with co-operators on gradual transition of their apparatus towards organisation of the whole population in consumer co-operative societies.

Compulsory labour service, begun from the top.

The most ruthless measures to combat chaos, disorder and idleness, and the most vigorous and severe measures for raising the discipline and self-discipline of the workers and peasants, are to be regarded as absolutely essential and urgent.

Conversion of state control into a real control for setting up mobile groups of controllers in all spheres of economic life.


Practical conditions concerning the employment of bourgeois intellectuals and saboteurs who express the desire to work with the Soviet government. Industrial courts for taking account of production, stocks of goods and labour productivity. (lmmediate and categorical.)

 Completion of the nationalisation of all factories, railways, means of production and exchange.

Categorical and ruthless struggle against the syndicalist and chaotic attitude to nationalised enterprises. Persistent carrying out of centralisation of economic life on a nationwide scale. Unremitting demand for preliminary plans and estimates, weekly reports and actual increase of labour productivity. Establishment and practical trial of the apparatus for managing the nationalised industries.

The reason for this demand was that when certain enterprises were nationalised the staffs of these enterprises and certain trade unions had a tendency to regard the enterprise or branch of industry as belonging to the staff of the enterprise or to the trade union. Lenin was very much against such anarcho-syndicalist tendencies. When the question of water transport on the Volga was being discussed by the Council of People's Commissars on March 4, 1918, Lenin condemned the proposal to make the nationalised river craft the property of the trade unions of the various shipping lines and stressed that such aspirations had nothing in common with socialism. "The task of socialism," Lenin said, "is to make all the means of production the property of the whole people, and certainly not to have the ships handed over to the ship workers and the banks handed over to the bank workers."

Lenin Works Archive




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