By Bob Arnot (auth.)
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Additional resources for Controlling Soviet Labour: Experimental Change from Brezhnev to Gorbachev
Consequently, it is argued, any socially produced surplus at the disposition of the state is consciously pre-determined by the planning process, which reflects the political wishes of the working class. Furthermore, this surplus is at the disposal of the direct producers via their control of the state (Kozlov, 1977, p. 397). The USSR is viewed as a society moving towards 'social homogeneity' (Oblomskaya, Starakhov, Umanets, 1983, pp. 28-34). 1 illustrates, by defining the class structure in terms of only two classes, the appearance of homogeneity can be created and once again the ruling group disappears by amalgamation.
Logically, by applying this definition to the USSR it is impossible to leave anyone out of the working class and it would seem that Lane and O'Dell also reach this conclusion by their use of terms like 'a politically unitary class society'. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that they view the Soviet Union as a classless society. This is confirmed in the concluding chapter of their work, where they refer to the economic class structure as being 'unitary' (p. 132). In fact, what they do is simply reproduce the functionalism of their Soviet counterparts and state: It is certainly not the case that with the development of socialism the working class becomes a unitary and undifferentiated group.
164-86). Even a more orthodox writer like Marris (1964) has pointed out that the divorce between ownership and control need not lead to a divergence of objectives. His argument that owners and managers may well have a single unified aim of maximising the 'balanced rate of growth', develops a concept not dissimilar to the Marxist notion of accumulation as the prime motivation of capital. Furthermore, the capitalist manager has, to varying degrees, depending upon the constraints placed upon him, control over the eventual disposition of the extracted surplus.