Our New Soviet-Style Economy

Back in the 1980s when I taught at George Mason University we hired a young Ph.D. from Duke whose mother was a “Soviet dissident” and, fortunately for her, was allowed to leave that hellhole with her son.  I had many interesting conversations with him about life in the Soviet Union, and recall him saying that on a typical day a truck would show up somewhere in town and, instantly, a huge line would form.  No one knew what was in the truck, but they wanted whatever it was (toilet paper, shoes, hamburger meat, whatever) so they could barter it for what they needed.  (He once told me of what he described as the weirdest dream ever — that there was a Pizza Hut in Moscow).

Then just yesterday I was in a CVS pharmacy and the man in front of me in line asked the checkout clerk if the store was going to be restocked with soap any time soon.  The clerk said that they were expecting a delivery truck in a few days but that he had no idea what would be in it.


7:50 am on March 24, 2020