Socialist competition

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Winner of the socialist competition (1973).
"Collective of socialist work" medal of the GDR (back: socialist work, learning and living)

The socialist competition (also called the competitive movement ) was a method for developing the mass initiative of the working people in the real socialist states.


In the GDR he was supported by the trade union federation FDGB , represented by the works union management (BGL) in every company or authority. The competition program was decided by the stewards Assembly of the union at the beginning of each plan year .

Competition objectives were in particular:

  • further increase in product quality,
  • improved effectiveness of the basic funds,
  • Improvement of material economy ,
  • the most rational use of labor,
  • highly effective realization of investments ,
  • Production of high quality consumer goods ,
  • planned improvement of working conditions,
  • Improvement of order, security and discipline in the company.

For the majority of the collectives who fought for the honorary title or the annual defense of the title “ collective of socialist work ”, there were additional obligations within the framework of the culture and education plan. The cash bonuses were of practical importance, and were also considered to be an effective financial incentive for non-political workers to successfully fulfill the plan and to outperform them in a targeted manner.

The basic Leninist principles of socialist competition had to be adhered to : publicity, comparability / measurability and repeatability.

A method of competition in the field of motor transport in the GDR from 1955 to 1960 was the “100,000 movement”. The aim was "to create the conditions for the greatest possible utilization of the transport space through careful handling of vehicles and the most economical use of materials". If company-specific goals were achieved (e.g. reducing empty trips, fuel consumption, tire wear), bonuses were given to all employees in a collective .

In the locomotive and workshop service of the GDR, too, labor productivity was to be increased through competitions in the 1950s. The railway workers had to take part in the "250 and 500,000 movement". With the "250 movement" per day and locomotive, 250 kilometers should be covered in local freight train service and with the "500,000 movement" even 500 kilometers with a train load of 1000 tons. These goals represented a great challenge for the railway workers, as often only inferior brown coal briquettes and untreated boiler feed water were available for the operation of the locomotives.


Socialist competition was a means of socialist states to increase or improve work motivation and awareness, and thus production, qualitatively and quantitatively. It is intended to represent a more humane alternative to classic competition in capitalist systems, which implies the principle of capitalist competition, "Defeat and death of the one, victory and domination of the other", through the principle of socialist competition, "Comradely help of the advanced for those who remain behind", replace.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Der Verkehrspraktiker - magazine for theory and practice of motor traffic and urban local traffic . Verlag Die Wirtschaft Berlin, issue 6/1959, page 28.
  2. Lothar Schultz: The time of the steam locomotives in Mecklenburg . Ostseedruck Rostock, 1988, page 43.
  3. ^ Stalin, Josef (1954): The competition and the labor boom of the masses in: Josef Stalin. Works, Volume 12. Berlin: Dietz-Verlag, page 97.