Paternalism as a Mode of Legitimation in Soviet-type Societies

  • Ferenc Fehér
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


Dostoevsky’s famous and malevolent aperçu that one of socialism’s main attractions for the legendary ‘man in the street’ is his fear of having an opinion of his own has been regarded by generations of socialists as an enemy slander. As far as the first anti-capitalist and paternalist-socialist movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are concerned, it undoubtedly was a slanderous statement, for what these movements feared most and what they sought a protecting authority against was famine and the elementary difficulties of physical self-reproduction. Their problems were not those resulting from the subtle difficulties of a life led as an individual. If one looks closely at the model case, that of the famous sans-culottes of 1793–4 and their anticapitalist socio-economic programme of maximisation, one will discern the much discussed problem of bread — in a literal sense — behind their demands for the terroristic-paternalist state authority that turned out to be so murderous, for themselves included.


Population Transfer Power Elite Soviet System Communist State Romanian Woman 
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  1. 9.
    A negative realisation it is for not only does the compulsion to work remain valid but also, as M. Haraszti described it in his excellent book Workers in a Workers’ State (London, 1977), in many factories and various branches of industry the worst sort of Taylorism and exploitation of the physical energies of workers is practised.Google Scholar

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© T. H. Rigby and Ferenc Fehér 1982

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  • Ferenc Fehér

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