Stalinism stalinist

The style of state associated with Josef Stalin in the Soviet Union. Characterized by a single ruling party, a dictatorial system of government, mass parades and constant praise of the leader by all media. Also prison camps and a total absence of the rule of law. A 20th century version of absolute monarchy. Slave labor in the prison camps was an essential part of Stalin's economic plan.

It is probably indistinguishable from Nazism and Fascism which may be considered imitations of Stalin's methods.

The last full-blown example is probably North Korea, but Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Syria under Hafiz Assad also show many influences.

In economics Stalin's style was to concentrate on so-called "heavy industry": coal mines, steel works and other large plants, while neglecting consumer products. The former Stalinist states all have unbalanced economies with large inefficient because old-fashioned megaplants. This style became increasingly backward as the western economies developed automation, information systems and sophisticated consumer products. Perhaps Stalin's real intention was to create the industries which contributed to success in modern warfare to compensate for Russia's defeat by Germany in 1914-17. But no doubt he was also ignorant and prejudiced, a common disease of dictators. Stalinism is a variety of totalitarianism.

See also Psychopaths.

Interesting Reading
Arthur Koestler - Darkness at Noon.
The fictional story of an enthusiastic communist who has betrayed others for "the cause" and then finds himself betrayed by the Party. A classic novel about the implications of serving a totalitarian society.

Last revised 5/08/10


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