The Soviet Administrative Elite

By Kenneth C. Farmer | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Educating the Elite

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.
Francis Bacon

It has been said that to know who is educated is to know who will rule. Of all the characteristics that differentiate a political elite from the masses, the possession of higher education is the most consistently predictable one; indeed, it is a nearly universal characteristic of the ruling stratum, both geographically and temporally. Imperial China did not differ from any present-day state in this respect. The percentage of national political elites possessing higher education in 1970 ranged from 88 percent in the United States and the USSR to between 60 percent and 76 percent in Western Europe, whereas the percentage of their respective populations with higher education was less than 5 percent everywhere except in the United States, where it was 11 percent.1

This relationship between education and elite status has held true throughout modern history (the last three centuries) and of course was true not only in China but in the young American republic, as well as the Russian Empire. It is even more pronounced in underdeveloped countries.

The relationship between education and elite status is complicated by the relationship of social class to both. Gaetano Mosca notes well that even a putatively "open" elite may in fact be closed if there are class, gender, and national or other inequalities in access to higher education.2

-31-

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The Soviet Administrative Elite
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1- Introduction: The Theoretical Context 1
  • Notes 25
  • Chapter 2- Educating the Elite 31
  • Notes 66
  • Chapter 3- Elite Structure 73
  • Notes 96
  • Chapter 4- The Stalinist Transformation 101
  • Notes 140
  • Chapter 5- Elite-Society Relations 149
  • Notes 180
  • Chapter 6- Elite Recruitment and Mobility 189
  • Notes 220
  • Chapter 7 - Venality 225
  • Notes 245
  • Chapter 8- Iron Teeth: The Gorbachev Transformation 251
  • Notes 280
  • Selected Bibliography 285
  • Index 291
  • About the Author 297
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