For example, Italy abandoned free trade in 1878, followed by Germany in 1879, France in 1882 and finally the USA in 1883. The onset of economic protectionism made it increasingly difficult for Britain to export goods to these countries. Therefore, in the years following 1873, Britain could be said to have had an industrial depression due to the abandonment of free trade economic policy by many of Britain's key trade partners at the time. This made it much harder for Britain to export to other countries and so an industry they had depended on for such a long time had gone into serious decline. In
Indeed, this appeared to be effective as Russia's economy exceptionally grew by 14% per annum. Production of essential commodities such as iron and coal also drastically increased between 1928 to 1932, from 3.3 to 6.2 and 35.4 to 64.3 million tonnes, respectively. Also, the program of 'proletarian advancement' alone created around 150,000 jobs and as a result, the urban population trebled as peasants moved to the cities to work in Soviet industry. However, although production increased under the first Five-Year Plan, the Soviet economy in fact suffered terribly to meet the unrealistically set targets of production. As a result, great inefficiency and low labor productivity came about and the focus on scale meant that much of what was being produced was in fact unusable.
To what extent did Witte achieve economic modernisation in Russia? Sergei Witte was introduced as the Tsars financial minister at a time when Russia was in a state of social and economic backwardness. Witte successfully achieved economic modernisation in Russia to a certain extent. Witte’s policies lead to a ‘Great Spurt’ in economic modernisation as they increased the number of factories and led to vast improvements in infrastructure such as railways. However his policies were still very limiting as they did not address the backwardness of agriculture and caused frequent famines, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people; keeping Russia economically and socially far behind the great European powers.
Collectivisation was introduced by Mao in 1958, in 1958 production rate of food was at 200 million tonnes, but by 1960 the production rate had fallen to 143.5 million. Within 2 years one of Mao’s own policies had caused a fall in production rate of 56.5 million. Despite the figures Mao insisted that many peasants were growing more food than necessary and keeping some for themselves, Mao accused the peasants of being ‘inherently capitalist’ and that they were against being a part of a communist state. The policy of collectivisation contributed hugely to the scale of the famine; the peasants resented the change as they didn’t have enough land to farm their crops, on top of this the authorities believed that they needed to be ‘strictly controlled and directed’. This attitude towards the peasants amplified the issues of collectivisation and caused scale of the famine to worsen.
Wages rose how ever there were too few goods on which to spend money. Also the creation of collective farms essentially destroyed kulaks as a class and this disruption led to a famine. I think that over all the first five year plan was not a success in strengthening the soviet economy because a lot of the targets set were not achieved for example the production of coal were 35.4; oil was 11.7 and steel 4 million tonnes. The actual target of these was double the amount produced. I think it was successful in the sense it increased urbanisation, several gains were obtained in heavy industry and wages rose.
The inflation rate rose so dramatically that the German currency lost virtually all value. Paper money was as good as worthless. This caused many people, especially in the middle classes to fall into poverty. Many never trusted the Republic again. In 1924 the crisis was brought to an end by the Dawes Plan, which restored the value of the currency.
The World War brought up a huge range of different issues, which plummeted an already shaky country, into a desperate country. One such issue was the economic strains that the war put on the country. The urgent need for weapons and specialised equipment drove the Russian economy into overdrive, leaving the poorest Russians without food and with an inflation rate which rose around twice as fast as wages went up. The huge numbers of men armed by Russia also meant that industries all across Russian began to slow their production rapidly, most notably of all being agriculture. This meant trade to other countries went down bringing the economy to yet another low and this lack of agricultural workers meant a lack of food across Russia, especially in towns and cities where there was no easy access to farms; and as is with most things in demand, the prices went through the roof, leaving peasants starving on a mass scale.
One aspect of the workers’ lives that needs to be considered in order to see whether the Communist leaders did less than the Tsars to improve them is their living standards. The quality of life generally declined for workers throughout the period, with the only period of significant change under Khrushchev, however even his reforms cannot out way the deterioration of standards earlier in the Communist period, whereby Lenin and Stalin seemed to show a complete disregard for the improvement of living standards; For instance, the amount of living space for a worker fell from 8.5m squared in 1905, to 5.8m squared by 1935. A significant motive for this seems to be due to ideology; Stalin in
This railway also opened up a range of different jobs, meaning that the unemployment of Russia plummeted. Although this factor of the changing in Russia was very substantial, it promised more than it delivered. Sections of the railway were still incomplete in 1914 and it did not greatly improve or increase east-west communications. Between 1881 and 1910, Russia’s trade with other countries dramatically increased very dramatically this is seen by the statistics as the exported goods is higher than the imported goods, also the productivity of natural resources dramatically increased as there was allot more iron, coal and oil being produced and sent from Russia to the rest of Europe. Although this was a large advantage to the economy of Russia, the grain production did increase, but it didn’t
The ancient regime was under a financial stress and although the economy had grown in the 18th century, especially in overseas trade, it really had only benefited the ports of France. The French financial institutions had not developed enough to keep up with the economic growth. There was no central bank or stock exchange and almost no joint stock companies, and no investment from land or trade being put into the industry. France was also under the pressure of a huge budget deficit caused mainly by the wars of the previous kings, such as the Seven Years War (1756-63) and the American War of Independence (1778-83). By the 1780’s the government was nearly bankrupt, and half of government income was going on paying debts.