Was Communism Doomed?

Human Nature, Psychology and the Communist Economy

  • Simon Kemp

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Simon Kemp
    Pages 1-4
  3. Simon Kemp
    Pages 5-27
  4. Simon Kemp
    Pages 55-92
  5. Simon Kemp
    Pages 105-134
  6. Simon Kemp
    Pages 135-166
  7. Simon Kemp
    Pages 167-194
  8. Simon Kemp
    Pages 215-240
  9. Simon Kemp
    Pages 241-255
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 257-277

About this book


This book explores whether the ideology of communism was doomed to failure due to psychological rather than structural flaws. Does communism fail because there is not enough individual incentive and does it discourage psychological ownership? If so, does it produce learned helplessness and therefore empower evil? This book considers such questions, both with respect to how communism actually functioned and how it could have functioned using examples from Eastern Europe and the USSR itself during the 20th century. It reviews both the ideology of communism and its history, as well as the basic but difficult question of how one might decide whether an economic system can be defined as successful or not. 

Simon Kemp is Professor of Psychology at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, with long-standing interests in economic psychology and the history of psychology. His previous books include Public Goods and Private Wants: A Psychological Approach to Government Spending and Medieval Psychology. He has also been editor of the Journal of Economic Psychology


Communist Economics Political Psychology World Communism Psychology of Communism Marxism Psychological ownership Learned helplessness Evil Incentives Coordination problems USSR

Authors and affiliations

  • Simon Kemp
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of PsychologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

Bibliographic information

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