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Why people in the U.S.S.R. engraved prices right on goods: all due to ubiquitous control

Anna OnishchenkoLife
Why people in the U.S.S.R. engraved prices right on goods

For people who grew up in the Soviet Union, it was commonplace to see prices engraved right on goods. This practice may seem strange now, but back then it had several reasons.

OBOZ.UA collected information and prepared a material about why there were no paper price tags in stores in the U.S.S.R.. Back then, the price written directly on the products was not only a way to indicate the cost but also part of the total control of the empire.

Why people in the U.S.S.R. engraved prices right on goods: all due to ubiquitous control

Planned economy

Ukraine currently has a market economy. This means that there are many producers of various goods on the market who set prices depending on the quality of the goods, demand, supply, etc. In the U.S.S.R., it was a planned economy. That is, the government was the only supplier of products to stores. It was the only one that controlled the production, distribution, and price of goods. Fixing prices allowed for the regulation of supply and demand in the market, so there was simply no need for parer price tags. Goods always cost the same.

Why people in the U.S.S.R. engraved prices right on goods: all due to ubiquitous control

Fighting speculation

The U.S.S.R. leadership determined the price of goods independently and did not always take into account their real cost as they tried to make them available to everyone in order to create an impression of affordability and prosperity among citizens.

Therefore, it is quite likely that there would be people who would want to resell cheap items and products at a higher price. However, engraving the price directly on the goods did not allow for this type of income.

Why people in the U.S.S.R. engraved prices right on goods: all due to ubiquitous control

Social equality

The Soviet government tried to make people in society equal and the same. Therefore, it is not surprising that, in addition to equal responsibilities, it sought to provide citizens with equal rights. It was believed that price fixing helped reduce social inequality as all people, regardless of their status, bought goods at the same price.

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