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Concentration of Production in Russia

V. I. Lenin

In Russia, as in all capitalist countries, concentration of production is going on, i.e., its concentration to an ever greater extent in a small number of large and very large undertakings.

Under the capitalist system, every undertaking is entirely dependent on the market. In view of this dependence, the larger the undertaking, the more cheaply it can sell its product. A big capitalist buys raw materials more cheaply and expends them more economically; he uses better machinery, etc. Small proprietors, on the other hand, are ruined and go under. Production becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of a few millionaires. Millionaires generally increase their power still more through joint-stock companies, which put in their hands the capital of middle proprietors and “small fry”.

Here are data, for example, on the factory industry in Russia for 1910 compared with 1901:[1]

Groups of establishments
by number of workers
Number of
Number of workers
Up to 50 ...12,7409,909244220
51 to 101 ...2,4282,201171159
101 to 500 ...2,2882,213492508
501 to 1,000 ...403433269303
Over 1,000 ...243324526713
Total ...18,10215,0801,7021,903

Such is generally the situation in all capitalist countries. The number of small establishments is decreasing; the petty bourgeoisie, the small proprietors, are ruined and go under; they join the ranks of office employees, and sometimes of the proletariat.

The number of very large undertakings is growing fast, their share in production as a whole increasing still more.

From 1901 to 1910 the number of large factories employing over 1,000 workers each increased almost 50 per cent—from 243 to 324.

In 1901 they had about half a million (528,000) workers, or less than one-third of the total number, whereas in 1910 the figure exceeded 700,000, which is more than one-third of the total.

The bigger factories choke the small ones and concentrate production more and more. Ever greater numbers of workers are brought together in a few undertakings, but the whole profit from the labour of the combined millions of workers goes to a handful of millionaires.

[1] Lenin took the figures from A Summary of Factory Inspectors’ Reports for 1910, St. Petersburg, 1911, p. XV.

Published: Pravda No. 89, August 12, 1912. Signed: T.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 272-273.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan

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