纵观其历史，苏联的经济依赖于中央政府 – 政治局 – 控制所有工业和农业生产来源的体系。从二十世纪二十年代到第二次世界大战开始，约瑟夫斯大林的“五年计划”将生产资本品（如军事装备）放在消费品生产上。在“枪支或黄油”的旧经济论证中，斯大林选择了枪支。基于其在石油生产方面的世界领先地位，苏联经济在1941年德国入侵莫斯科之前一直保持强劲。到1942年，苏联国内生产总值（GDP）暴跌34％，削弱了国家的工业产出并阻碍了整体经济直到20世纪60年代。 1964年，新苏联总统列昂尼德·勃列日涅夫允许工业界强调利润而不是生产。到1970年，苏联经济达到了高点，GDP估计约为美国的60％。然而，在1979年，阿富汗战争的代价将风吹走了苏联经济的风帆。到苏联于1989年撤出阿富汗时，其2.5亿美元的国内生产总值已降至美国48.62亿美元的50％以上。更有说服力的是，苏联的人均收入（流行2.867亿）为8,700美元，而美国的人均收入为19,800美元（流行人数为2.468亿）。
Throughout its history, the Soviet economy relied on the central government – the Political Bureau – a system that controls all sources of industrial and agricultural production. From the 1920s to the beginning of the Second World War, Joseph Stalin’s “five-year plan” placed capital goods (such as military equipment) on the production of consumer goods. In the old economic argument of “firearms or butter”, Stalin chose guns. Based on its world leading position in oil production, the Soviet economy remained strong until the German invasion of Moscow in 1941. By 1942, the Soviet Union’s gross domestic product (GDP) plummeted 34%, weakening the country’s industrial output and hampering the overall economy until the 1960s. In 1964, the new Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev allowed the industry to emphasize profit rather than production. By 1970, the Soviet economy had reached a high point, and GDP was estimated to be about 60% of the United States. However, in 1979, the price of the Afghan war would blow away the sails of the Soviet economy. By the time the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, its $250 million in gross domestic product had fallen to more than 50% of the US$4.862 billion. More convincingly, the per capita income of the Soviet Union (popular 286.7 million) was $8,700, while the per capita income of the United States was $19,800 (the popular number was 246.8 million).