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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Benefits of Social Position

In the Soviet Union, income and related benefits generally derived from one's social position and not the reverse. Ordinarily, the higher one's social position in the Soviet Union, the higher one's total benefits, which included not only better wages but also increased access to scarce goods and services. Access to goods and services more accurately reflected social status than cash income because social groups did not have equal access to them and because perpetual shortages of goods and services diminished the usefulness of cash earned. Other benefits, such as government subsidies for transportation, food, and housing, were not obtained by virtue of one's social status but were equally enjoyed by all. Occupational prestige appeared to be related to both income and occupation, although some professional positions, despite their higher prestige, were worth less in wages than certain jobs requiring skilled manual labor.

Data as of May 1989