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Romania Table of Contents


Unpaid Labor

The rapid realignment of the work force created difficulties for agriculture, particularly during planting and harvest seasons. To compensate for the loss of farm workers, the government followed the Stalinist practice of mobilizing soldiers, young people, and even factory workers to "donate" their labor. Throughout the communist era, these groups have supplied unpaid labor that made possible the massive civil engineering projects launched after World War II. In 1988 more than 720,000 high school and college students and 30,000 teachers were detailed to agricultural work sites, and another 50,000 students and 2,000 teachers "donated" labor at construction projects.

Throughout the 1980s, the government appeared to be growing more reliant on compulsory labor, issuing a decree in August 1985 requiring all citizens to make labor and financial contributions to public works projects. At the same time, the military's role in the economy was also becoming more prominent. Soldiers worked on such important national projects as the Danube-Black Sea Canal, the Iron Gate hydroelectric project, and the Bucharest subway, as well as on more mundane details such as repairing streets and bringing in the harvest. After 1985, when Ceausescu militarized the electric power industry, army officers even became involved in the management of the civilian economy.

Data as of July 1989