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Education, Sex and Income Inequality in Soviet-type Socialism


  • Oldrich Kyn

    (Boston University)


This is a paper presented at the international symposium on 'Income Distribution and Economic Inequality' in Bad Homburg, West Germany in 1976. This symposium was organized by Zvi Griliches, Wilhelm Krelle, Hans-Juergen Krupp and Oldrich Kyn. The paper compares the empirical evidence on actual income distribution in Czechoslovakia and Poland with normative view of Marxian theory. The original Marxian view on distributive justice is very far from crude egalitarianism. Marx and Engels never argued for absolutely equal incomes of all people. The Marxian principle ‘equal amount of product for equal amount of labor' must necessarily produce quite considerable income differentials. The socialist principle of distribution implies that a person with higher skills should receive a higher wage than a less skilled worker. Marx wrote: 'Socialist equality is ...only the equality of the right to income and not the equality of income. It recognizes no class differences, ... but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowments and thus productive capacity as natural privileges'. Marx argued that 'crude communism' called for equality of wages only because it was an expression of 'envy and the desire to reduce everything to a common level' and he added 'it aims to destroy everything which is incapable of being possessed by everyone,' because 'it wishes to eliminate talent etc. by force' and because it 'negates the personality of man in every sphere'. It follows that According to Marx income inequality based on different level of education are justifiable, but income inequality between men and women is not. The empirical data for Czechoslovakia and Poland show that income differentials based on education still persist, although they were at least in Czechoslovakia significantly reduced. In both Czechoslovakia and Poland women have significantly lower incomes than men.

Suggested Citation

  • Oldrich Kyn, 2005. "Education, Sex and Income Inequality in Soviet-type Socialism," Development and Comp Systems 0509024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0509024
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    Income Distribution; Economic Inequality; Education; Sex Discrimination; Czechoslovakia; Poland; Marxism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems

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