Proportions of Social Production

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Proportions of Social Production


quantitative relationships of the aggregate social product and its separate parts, the resources used in production (fixed and circulating production assets, labor and natural resources), and the particular phases of reproduction (production, distribution, exchange, and consumption). Under the conditions of commodity production and the operation of the law of value, the proportions of social production are realized in the unity of material (physical) and value forms. The character of the proportions of social production is determined by the goal of production, by objective economic laws, and by the specific conditions of economic development.

Under capitalism, the proportions of social production take shape spontaneously in the process of competition and under the determining influence of the goal of capitalist production—the receipt of surplus value. Owing to the contradiction between the social character of production and private capitalist acquisition, bourgeois society cannot ensure the proportional development of production on a national economic scale, and capitalism is characterized by cyclical reproduction, in which boom periods are followed by years of economic crisis and stagnation. The proportions of social production emerge as a moment in the series of disproportions during a crisis period. After the crisis the contradictions between production and consumption again become acute, and disproportions in various sectors and spheres of the economy intensify. Although the development of state-monopoly capitalism and capitalist programming leads to certain changes in the mechanism of reproduction, it does not eliminate the spontaneous way in which the proportions of social production characteristically take shape under capitalism.

Characteristic of socialism is the formation of the proportions of social production in conformity with a plan. The prerequisites for this are public ownership of the means of production and development of the national economy in the interests of society as a whole.

The proportions of social production depend on a number of primary factors: social needs, the volume and structure of resources and the efficiency with which they are used, scientific and technological potential, the rate and scale of technological progress, and the organizational and management forms of social production and the degree to which they correspond to the objective needs of the development of society’s productive forces. The operation of these factors causes continuous changes in the proportions of social production.

Among the proportions of social production are general economic reproduction proportions by spheres of application of social labor, by economic designation, and by use of output. These proportions express the relationship between the production and nonproduction spheres, between the production of the means of production and the production of consumer goods (subdivisions I and II), between the replacement fund for material expenditures and the national income in the gross social product, and between the consumption fund and the accumulation fund in the national income. Sectoral proportions (by sectoral and intrasectoral division of labor, subdivided by production and technological characteristics) express the relationship between particular sectors of material production (industry, agriculture, construction, and transportation) and sectors of the nonproduction sphere (education, public health, and housing and municipal services).

Intrasectoral proportions express, for example, the relationship between the production figures for coal, petroleum, and gas in the fuel industry or the relationship between different branches of crop farming and animal husbandry in agriculture. Territorial proportions are based on the spatial division of social labor and the specialization of particular regions. Intrapro-duction proportions (technological production links at enterprises and within particular sectors) express the relationship between different stages in processing raw materials and other materials and between various stages in producing and assembling finished goods. Foreign economic proportions reflect the national economy’s participation in the international division of labor—the import and export of goods and services, the balance of payments, and so forth. Value proportions express the movement of the value of output in the process of exchange, monetary circulation, and the formation and distribution of financial resources—the shaping and use of the income of enterprises, sectors, the state, and the population.

The Soviet state has altered the proportions of social production on the basis of the objective laws and tendencies of development, in conformity with the tasks of socialist construction and the level of economic development. Profound qualitative changes occur in the proportions of social production during the stage of the developed socialist society. Characteristic of these changes is the improvement of the sectoral and intrasectoral production structure, as well as the improvement of the location of the productive forces, under the influence of the scientific and technological revolution. In addition, intensive, qualitative factors play an increasing role in the growth of social production, the rates of development of subdivisions I and II converge, and the economic sectors that serve the population grow rapidly. Among the main trends in improving the proportions of social production in the current phase is the strengthening of the plan balance as a condition for proportional economic development. Another main trend is aimed at improving the level of scientific substantiation of plan assignments by more precise determination of social needs and essential resources and more accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of planned measures. Also among the main trends in improving the proportions of social production is a comprehensive approach to solving socioeconomic and scientific and technological problems, as well as an emphasis on planning the most important intersectoral proportions of reproduction, which predetermine changes in the structure of the national economy.


Marx, K. Kapital, vols. 1, 2. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 23, 24.
Lenin, V. I. “Ob edinom khoziaistvennom plane, 21 fevralia 1921 g.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42.
Materialy XXIV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1971.
Metodicheskie ukazaniia k soslavleniiu gosudarstvennogo plana razvitiia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR. Moscow, 1969.
Notkin, A. I. Tempy i proportsii sotsialisticheskogo vosproizvodstva. Moscow, 1961.
Metody planirovaniia mezhotraslevykh proportsii. Moscow, 1965.
Struktura narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.