Munich Personal RePEc Archive

La Direction centrale de la statistique et la Balance de l’économie nationale de l’URSS en 1923—24

Akhabbar, Amanar (2013): La Direction centrale de la statistique et la Balance de l’économie nationale de l’URSS en 1923—24. Published in: OEcononmia (2014)


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In 1918 the Central Statistical Administration (TsSU) was founded with the support of Lenin. Pavel Illich Popov was its first director (1918-1926). TsSU proceeded to the merging and centralization of the former decentralized statistical system of the zemstva (local governments) inherited from Tsarist regime. Between 1918 and 1928, i.e. during the civil war and the NEP, TsSU was at the heart of Soviet Statistics but it came to be controlled and eventually absorbed by Gosplan afterwards. At the TsSU Popov defended his view of social statistics as being a device for the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat in the political sphere while resting on strong scientific foundations in accordance with international standards. Rooted in Russian statisticians’ tradition, the objectivity and scientific nature of the works issued by the TsSU was Popov’s credo. In 1926, Popov exposed his views in a collective book he edited and published by the TsSU, The Balance of the National Economy of the USSR, 1923―24. In The Balance was exposed for the first time the modern principles of national accounting and intersectoral macroeconometric analysis. According to Popov, these were the relevant devices for social engineering in the NEP. Against “utopian” authors, Popov stressed the importance of founding social engineering and planning on economic theory and political economy. He thus explained how his statistical balance was an outgrowth of Quesnay’s Tableau économique and Marx’s schema of reproduction. Our article aims at examining Popov’s specific contribution as well as identifying its stakes and its significance in the economic debates during the 1920s.

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