When grain procurements were only half of what they had been a year before, his concern was suddenly revealed to be justified.
The peasants who had surplus grain to sell were no longer doing so because the market prices for agricultural goods, which were subject to manipulation by the state, had dropped so low.
The crisis could be solved by allowing agricultural prices to rise higher and by adjusting the products of the industrial sector in the direction of providing more consumer goods of the sort the peasantry would want to buy.
Many party leaders were alarmed by the sudden drop in grain procurements.
Stalin concluded that this was a portentous challenge to Bolshevik rule, one that required a strong response, not concessions or compromises.
The drop in grain procurements was put in a more ominous light by other developments in the late 1920s.
The NEP had become an insult to those activists who had sacrificed so much in the revolutionary struggles of 1917-21 only to find themselves in an economy where, as they saw it, unscrupulous small businessmen and large peasants.
In January 1928, Stalin and other party leaders decided on "extraordinary meas ures" for the short term.
War Communism from 1917 to 1921 was characterized by coercive arrests of those who were discovered to be hoarding grain and requisitions at gun point.
The grain collected in January 1928 was greater than any of the previous three years.
The implications of these extraordinary measures were ominous, since they set in motion a chain reaction that rendered impossible a return to the cooperative emphasis of the NEP.
Historians debated how long various other options remained open after January 1928, but in the next months and years Stalin reversed the course he had defended before.
He led the nation to the horror of Bukharin and his supporters, one that was more extreme in squeezing the peasantry than had been advocated by Trotsky.
Stalin is not likely to have plotted out the measures he would take.
In the case of the NEP in early 1921, the initial steps were tentative, but then "events" swept Stalin and other party leaders along.
Stalin and other party leaders were not able to control the more brutal measures that came to be perceived as necessary after they had declared the necessity of "liquidating the kulaks as a class".
The erratic developments of the next four to five years suggest confusion.
The aim of collectivization is to bring in the poor peasants with the chance of taking over the lands, livestock, and tools of the rich.
Russia's peasants could be brought under state control more efficiently if they were gathered into large units, which was one of the advantages of the collective farm.
In an economic sense, merging small and inefficient units would enable economies of scale and facilitate the use of modern agricultural techniques.
In the opening stages of collectivization, the economic theory only had a remote relationship to what actually happened.
Most peasants resisted, often violently.
Many destroyed their grain, burned their equipment and slaughtered their animals instead of giving them to the detested commissars.
The kulaks were arrested en mass, sent to Siberia, or herded into camps, resulting in untold misery and death for hundreds of thousands.
The years of collectivization resulted in a decline in agricultural production.
The 1927 livestock numbers were not recovered until the 1950s because so many animals were slaughtered by resentful peasants.
Rapid growth in the urban-industrial sector was supported by the ruthless squeezing of the peasants.
Private enterprise was banned and a planned economy was introduced in the sector as part of the "fiveyear plan".
It was possible to extract enough capital from the countryside to support massive investment in industry and population growth of the urban sector by instituting working conditions in the new collective farms that were close to slavery.
At times the population was pushed to starvation due to the drastic reduction in consumption levels in the countryside.
It has been estimated that as many as 8 million men, women, and children perished as a direct result of "dekulakization," forced collectivization, mass executions, and supervised starvation."
The country's purported ruling class, who were peasants who had been moved into the cities with the start of collectivization, had long hours, low pay, and "voluntary" work on the weekends and holidays.
This was an austere period, even for the most fortunate of the lower orders.
It could be said that capitalism was demolished by a socialist economy.