A Hierarchy of Consumption: Industrialization and Rationing in the USSR, 1930s

A Hierarchy of Consumption: Industrialization and Rationing in the USSR, 1930s

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  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

The implementation of an ambitious industrialization program in the USSR provoked a serious supply crisis at the end of the 1920s. In 1931, a nationwide rationing system for major food products and goods was introduced. Under the conditions of acute shortages, the government refused to feed everyone and supplied mostly those it considered important to fulfill the industrialization program. Thus, rationing became one means of pushing industrialization forward. The rationing system, which was abolished in 1935, formed a peculiar social and geographic hierarchy of consumption and defined the diet of the Soviet population in the 1930s.

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