This article tests two hypotheses about post-communist business associations. The first predicts weak business associations which are presented with insurmountable collective action problems by the flattened civil society inherited from totalitarianism. According to this hypothesis, no business associations are inherited from the previous regime, and associations are confronted with difficult-to-organize latent groups of large numbers of new small enterprises. The second hypothesis, as proposed by Mancur Olson, predicts strong business associations benefiting from the collective action advantages of the communist economic structure which was composed of small numbers of large enterprises. The hypotheses are tested with case studies of Poland's five most influential business associations. The conclusion is that the flattened civil society hypothesis is best borne out by the evidence. This suggests that, in other countries, political factors, rather than the standard communist economic structure, are more likely to explain the persistence of industrial super lobbies.