Centralized State Discourse and Authoritarian Socialism

This paper will focus on constitutional thought in the authoritarian socialist tradition. Socialist thought draws on what I call “centralized state constitutionalism”, which views a centralized state as being a key mechanism for overcoming the problems of a weak state. First, a centralized state allows strategic leadership to mobilize efficiently to counter external and internal threats and solve social problems. Second, it allows top-down coordination and education of the population (parental/perfectionist). This normative understanding of the state remains resilient in socialist Asia and post-Soviet Eurasia. It also is arguably influential in more recent versions of populism.