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Extra resources for Authority, Power and Policy in the USSR: Essays dedicated to Leonard Schapiro

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The distribution of power in the Soviet system is marked by a number of features congruent with the goal-rational order of authority: it is practically monopolised by officials, and those responsible for task-achieving activities are in general more powerful than those responsible for rule-applying activities; it is arranged hierarchically, but there are many hierarchies with different amounts and kinds of power; the most powerful hierarchy is the one bearing primary responsibility for coordinating the others and vetting their performance, namely the party apparatus at central, republic, regional, city and district levels, whose top officials, their 'first secretaries', exercise something like 'prefectural' or gubernatorial powers and status in their respective areas; 24 at the summit the weak authority of formal rules encourages considerable flux in the degree of concentration of power and its distribution among different positions and collective bodies; nevertheless the requirements of effective task-achievement favour the emergence of a dominant leader who may then exploit the charismatic potentialities in the authority-system to build a position of exceptional personal power.

35· A fuller account would also have to note developments in the capitalist democracies which could be seen as tending towards the Soviet model. , and the tendency of these to reduce the role of the public political process in policy-making. See, for instance, G. M. Dillon, 'Policy and Dramaturgy: A Critique of Current Conceptions of Policy-making', Policy and Politics, v, no. 1 ( 1976) 47-62, and Peter Self; Ecorwcrats and the Poliq Process (London, New York, Melbourne, 1975). 36. See Donald R.

Let us return now to Bukharin 's analysis of the state in 1 g 16. He proceeded from the deceptively simple and unimpeachably orthodox proposition that the state was a product and reflection of class diflcrentiation within society. That proposition, he pointed out, was the starting point of Engels's Origin of the Family, Private Properry and the State. a The state appeared, therefore, at a specific stage of social evolution when the productive forces, and the consequent division oflabour within society, were sufficiently elaborated to give rise to distinct classes.

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