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Erich Honecker on the "Unity of Economic and Social Policy" (June 15-19, 1971)

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This statement characterizes the goal of our economic activity in its indissoluble connection to the preconditions that must be achieved for it. Through life experience, our people have learned the important lesson that our society can never consume more than has been produced. Doing a better job to satisfy the needs of the people means that great demands are initially made on the hard work, expert knowledge, and sense of responsibility of every one of us, no matter where we perform our duty in our great community.

The main task of the Five-Year Plan of 1971 to 1975 outlines an entire economic policy program. The aim corresponds to the basic economic law of socialism. For our society, the economy is the means to an end, the means to the ever-better satisfaction of the growing material and cultural needs of the working people.

Our party, of course, was also guided by this in the past. But with the further development of socialist society and its economic potential, the natural connection between production and the needs of the people can and must have an increasingly immediate effect. With the main task, we are working toward this.

[ . . . ]

The socialist intensification of production is demanded by economic reason. And if we declare that to be the main path, then it means that it is not just any task but the primary task. It is not a matter for one but a matter for all. If everyone remembers that, then some tensions will decrease, some things will be tackled with less trouble and less wasted energy, and that is no small thing, comrades. We will move forward with greater speed and certainty.

In accordance with this direction, we have also determined the place of socialist rationalization within our economic policy. It will be given even greater emphasis as a top-priority political task with significance for all of society. We do not want to exhaust only one or another option to rationalize production but all of them – both great and small, in the entire national economy and at every workplace.

Trust in the sense of responsibility, the expert knowledge, the experience, and the creative riches of workers, scientists, and technicians; trust in the ability of the leaders of our combines [Kombinate] and factories [Betriebe] to take full advantage of such initiative, to promote and incorporate it – these tasks speak for rationalization. It opens up new space for socialist competition.

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