Initially, while working on his plans for the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin analyzed Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management and responded harshly, arguing that the system essentially works to enslave man, and referring to the plan as “scientific system of sweating” (Grachev, Rakitsky).
In response to the destroyed economy of the post revolution-Soviet Russia, however, Lenin changed his view on Taylorism, stating in a 1918 article, “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government,” how necessary it was to “take a lesson in socialism from capitalism’s big organizers.” For the rest of his time in Soviet government, Lenin faced a serious conflict between his own ethics and the needs of the Soviet Union (Grachev, Rakitsky).
Later in 1918, Lenin wrote that while Taylor’s system may be a product of the brutality of capitalist exploitation, it is also admittedly one of the greatest scientific achievements of its kind. He could not help but praise its effective analyzation of mechanics, motions, and work methods (Grachev, Rakitsky).
“…the Taylor system, properly controlled and intelligently applied by the working people themselves, will serve as a reliable means of further reducing the obligatory working day for the entire working population, will serve as an effective means of dealing, in a fairly short space of time, with a task that could roughly be expressed as follows: six hours of physical work daily for every adult citizen and four hours work in running the state.”
-Vladimir Lenin (Grachev, Rakitsky)
While Taylor’s ideals were marked by American capitalistic attitudes, something that Lenin vehemently disliked, he ultimately chose to choke back his personal feelings for the system that he saw could drastically improve Soviet economics, stating, “every use should be made of the scientific methods of work suggested by this system. Without it, productivity cannot be raised, without it, we shall not be able to introduce socialism (Grachev, Rakitsky).
In a 1918 speech, Lenin announced two new proposals: that piece rates be introduced everywhere without exception and harsher responses to breach of discipline in the work place (Grachev, Rakitsky).