A Socio-Economic Mimicry of Capitalism: The Black Market Under Stalin, 1930s

A Socio-Economic Mimicry of Capitalism: The Black Market Under Stalin, 1930s

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  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

The Soviet people under Stalin were anything but economically passive. To survive or improve their living conditions they invented many strategies. To defend themselves from the repressions that the state used to liquidate the black market, those engaged in illegal practices disguised them as forms of legal socialist production and trade, a phenomenon reminiscent of the biological form of mimicry that some organisms use to conceal themselves from predators. This case study encourages readers to think about the complexity of the Soviet economy, the ways in which the market developed under the state-centralized system, the scope and limits of the black market, and the role of the black market in the economy and everyday life.

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