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Yugoslavia Table of Contents


Launching Self-Management

The aim of the Yugoslav shift from Stalinist economics was to redefine the party as a source of ideological guidance, eliminating its political power over the economy. This would follow the true spirit of Marxism by giving the people control over their economic destiny. "The factories to the workers" was the slogan of the decade.

In 1950 the Basic Law on the Management of State Economic Enterprises by Working Collectives was introduced to establish workers' participation in the management of their own enterprises. The basic law decentralized planning, turning it over to local communes and workers' councils and incorporated the principles of self-management into all aspects of public life. Central authorities outlined only general economic guidelines rather than imposing mandatory targets from a centralized command structure. The state retained control over the appointment of enterprise directors and the allocation of investment resources, however, thereby retaining considerable de facto control over the economy.

In agriculture, the failure of collectivization led to abandonment of that experiment in 1952. By that date, one-fifth of the 7,000 agricultural collectives already had been dissolved. In March 1953, peasants were officially allowed to leave the collectives, and most of them did so. Later the same year, the state ended compulsory delivery of agricultural products to state enterprises. Peasants were left to produce what they could and to sell surpluses on the open market.

Data as of December 1990