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Yugoslavia: Launching Self-Management
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Economic History > 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

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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