...and the walls came tumbling down

“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”

Fran Lebowitz


Roadkill said...


Great politial cartoon.

Lebowitz, artiste that she is, ought to understand that capitalism is an economic system, whereas democracy is of the political. Yes, the economic system of capitalism triumphed over communism, but it cannot triumph over democracy. That's apples and oranges.

The danger is that democratic systems will vote to establish leftist economic systems, which will, inevitably, lead to undemocratic political systems as the demands of central planning circumscribe the activities of industrious citizens.

Not the first time an artiste has reality exactly backwards...

Sunny B. said...


The first question I ask in my first college econimic class went something like this...that supply and demand equilibrium is interesting, but how does politics factor into it?

Of course, we know public and political policy have a tremendous impact on economics. Political power trumps economic models, wouldn't you agree?

Roadkill said...

Sunny, you said:

“Political power trumps economic models, wouldn't you agree?”

Absolutely. The conditions and environment for any economic system must be vouchsafed by the political system in effect. The danger here is that the political elites chose the wrong economic model, which tips the country or society into decline and poverty. (The former Soviet Union, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba are prime examples). On the other hand, those that chose wisely will raise the standard of living and improve the lot of all citizens; think here of virtually any Capitalist country, including totalitarian Red China which has recently opted to leave Communism on the ash heap of history and has been flourishing under a liberal Capitalist model.

Sunny B said...

RK, when you say "political elites," you mean the revolutionary victors. The problem with the scenario that plays out is that the overthrowers probably haven't go a clue as to how to run the big show. Some of the podcasts I've been listening to cover the communist inspired revolutions and Hitler's climb to power. The communists in Russian (Lenin) was going to use Marx for a template. However, Marx didn't include the how-to detail instructions and Lenin and company didn't have a clue of what to do. "Nationalize the banks!" Then what? Hitler was totally iignorant of economics and running a business. He was an artist...and not a very good one. He grab what sounded good and ran with. Brown shirts and red shirts...they wanted changed and went with the guy who looked like he might bring change...regradless of the shirt color.

I was watching a documentary on Milton Friedman and it talked about one of the breakaway sattelites in the USSR...Maldovia or something like that. The 20-somethings who took control on had Friedman's Free to Choose as their guide. Things seemed to have been working 10 years ago when the documentary was made. I think some of the luster faded there recently.

Maybe the American revolution worked because there was already a government in place. Many of the Continental Congress members where part of the revolution and there was experience with the workings and there was an educated - business - class to put things into order. Obviously, the Ameircan revolution didn't get everything right, but it go a pretty solid frame and foundation to build on.

It's interest to have people tell me Obama wants to make us a communist nation. Why would he do that. Surely has model would gravitate towards European democratic socialism. The debate seems to be whether or not the purpose of government is to make a climate for business to thrive or a country where the members of society are the focus.