This 8 page paper provides an overview of two different perspectives on the Stalinist despotism that took hold in the Soviet Union. This paper relates Mancur Olson's views in Power and Prosperity and Arthur Koestler's perspectives in Darkness at Noon. Bibliography lists 3 sources.
Name of Research Paper File: MH11_MHStalin.rtf
Unformatted Sample Text from the Research Paper:
Mancur Olson, in his book Power and Prosperity considers the group elements and the dynamics that initially supported socialism and ultimately maintained the successful development of the Stalin regime.
Olsons explanations for Stalinist despotism are linked to philosophical views of theorists like John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant, who considered the role that the collective good played in
determining how man functioned as a social creature. In contrast, Arthur Koestler, in Darkness at Noon, provides a work of historical fiction through which the reader can understand on individuals
struggle between embracing socialism and supporting the Stalinists. In both cases, the authors relate distinct ways of viewing the process of change and the transformation of the Soviet Union
under Stalin, but each argument is presented in a very different way. Though Koestlers novel provides a more emotional depiction of what occurred, the logical and empirical information outlined
by Mancur Olson is a more clear means of understanding what lead to Stalinist despotism in the 1930s. Mancur Olson Mancur Olson looks at elements of group dynamics
as a means of creating a rationale for Stalinist despotism. First, Olson demonstrates that the function of groups in supporting interests often occurs in the same manner as an
individual supports their own interests. Olson writes: "...groups, if they are made up of rational individuals, are also rational: that groups will tend to act in their common
interests much as individuals tend to act in their individual interests" (Olson, 2000, p. 70). In other words, Olson argues that the group at some point begins to act
as its own entity, as an entity that functions towards the best interest of the group. This theory is not a new one, and has been supported by