Tag: autocracy

Autocracy and Quality: Why the Russian Empire Has No Clothes


In January 1937, the USSR commissioned a census. It was the first census conducted since 1926. The census was not intended for public dissemination. Instead, it was developed purely for leadership decision-making purposes. When the data was collected and reported, it showed a massive level of mortality due to the famines of 1932-3. The data, while accurate, was unacceptable. As a result, all of the statisticians involved with the project were arrested and executed. Again, the data was never intended for public consumption. The leadership themselves could not allow themselves to be exposed to data that contradicted what they wanted to hear.

The 1937 census was a powerful illustration of the most corrosive effects of autocratic management: the loss of real-world feedback in the service of effectively closed-loop management ambition.

On this AEI Events Podcast, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) delivers a keynote address at a conference on discussing democracy in crisis. The event, co-hosted by AEI, Freedom House, and the Center for American Progress, marked the release of Freedom House’s report “Freedom in the World 2018.”

In his keynote, Sen. Sasse emphasized that while freedom is not unique the United States, it is uniquely America’s advantage.