POV: You just posted a PCM with an “authleft no food” joke

From the top comment from u/0m4ll3y that I take no credit for:

"The CIA drew no conclusions about the nutritional makeup of Soviet or American diets"

Bravo. I could stop there, but fuck it.

You've posted a one page summary of a CIA report. The full thing is here. Now for starters, some important things. This CIA report is not looking at what Soviet citizens ingest, it is about food supply. This is very important. Secondly, even within this report you can see there are some huge inequalities across the Soviet Union. Meat consumption in Estonia was 81kg per capita per year, in Uzbekistan it was 31kg. Fruit consumption had an average of 40kg per person per year, but across Siberia it was 12kg.

The report indicates that the Soviets had slightly lower calorie in take than America. This understates things considerably.

Firstly, Soviet citizens conducted vastly more strenuous work in a significantly colder climate. They did not have the luxury of things like personal cars, or working 9-5 jobs in comfortable offices. The total recommended daily amount of calories for a Soviet person ranged from 2,800 to 3,600 for men and from 2,400 to 3,100 for women, depending on their occupation. In the United States, estimates range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men. So right away, it is very important to remember that the Soviets need higher calories than Americans.

Adding to this, the Soviet Union was notoriously ineffective at getting food into its citizens. The Soviet Union was the world's largest milk producer, but only 60% of that actually ended up in people. In the United States, 90% of milk produced was consumed by humans. General Secretary Gorbachev noted that reducing field and farm product losses during harvest, transportation, storage and processing could increase food consumption in general by 20%. So any of those figures you see in CIA reports, you can basically take down by one-fifth.

If you read this dissertation you get some useful points:

per capita consumption figures likely overstate actually available amounts, given that the Soviet Union’s inadequate transportation and storage infrastructure led to frequent shortages in stores, as well as significant loss of foodstuffs and raw products due to spoilage... In 1988, at the height of perestroika, it was revealed that Soviet authorities had been inflating meat consumption statistics; it moreover transpired that there existed considerable inequalities in meat consumption, with the intake of the poorest socioeconomic strata actually declining by over 30 percent since 1970... Government experts estimated that the elimination of waste and spoilage in the production, storage, and distribution of food could have increased the availability of grain by 25 percent, of fruits and vegetables by 40 percent, and of meat products by 15 percent.

Despite subsidising food by something like 10% of GDP food was still more expensive than in the West

If you actually read about the daily life in the USSR you will find assessment such as "The prevailing system of food distribution is clearly a major source of dissatisfaction for essentially all income classes, even the best off and even the most privileged of these." As you love CIA reports, here is another one which warns against the sunny outlook in the Wester literature:

In summary, I went to the USSR with a set of notions about what to expect that I had formed over the years from reading and research on the Soviet economy. I also had a collection of judgment factors,partly intuitive and partly derived from this same research and reading, that I applied in drawing conclusions and speculating about probable future developments in the Soviet economy. My four months of living in the country itself, however, greatly altered these preconceptions and modified the implicit judgment factors in many respects. No amount of reading about the Soviet economy in Washington could substitute for the summer in Moscow as I spent it.

As a result of this experience I think that our measurements of the position of Soviet consumers in relation to those of the United States (and Western Europe) favor the USSR to a much greater extent than I had thought. The ruble-dollar ratios are far too low for most consumer goods. Cabbages are not cabbages in both countries. The cotton dress worn by the average Soviet woman is not equivalent to the cheapest one in a Sears catalogue; the latter is of better quality and more stylish. The arbitrary 20 percent adjustment that was made in some of the ratios is clearly too little. The difference in variety and assortment of goods available in the two countries is enormous—far greater than I had thought. Queues and spot shortages were far more in evidence than I expected. Shoddy goods were shoddier. And I obtained a totally new impression of the behavior of ordinary Soviet people toward one another.

One of the true experts on consumption and nutrition in the USSR is Igor Birman who wrote the book on this topic. You get some interesting stats, like the USSR consume 229% the amount of potatoes as the United States but 39% the amount of meat. He also shows that the Soviets were not hitting their own "Rational Norms" for the consumption of meat, milk milk products, eggs, vegetables, fruits or berries. For example, while the Soviet Rational Norm for for fruit was 113kg, the actual consumption was 38. The US actual was smack bang on 113kg. You get some other fun facts like potato consumption in Tsarist Russia, 1913 was 113kg and after all of Stalin's industrialisation and collectivisation and decades of development, this increased to... 119kg in 1976.

Just an extra study I've found: In areas of the Soviet Union, 93% of men were Vitamin C deficient, while in neighbouring Finland this was 2%.

Soviet diets were not good. They did not hit their own set guidelines. Stop being a hack.

/r/PoliticalCompassMemes Thread Parent Link - i.redd.it