Yesterday, most of us celebrated Christmas.
Today, all of us should celebrate the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which officially happened on this date in 1991 (aided and abetted by a Texas grocery store).
A 2016 FEE column by Richard Ebeling documents the relentless evil of Soviet communism.
Based on the sheer number of victims, Stalin understandably has the worst reputation of all Soviet dictators.
But let’s not forget that Lenin was a horrible human being as well.
By the way, it’s not directly relevant to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but I can’t resist sharing this story from the BBC.
My only comment it that the memorial wasn’t “mindlessly vandalised.” There were 100 million reasons why it was defaced.
Now let’s look at the economic performance of the Soviet Union.
I’ll start with the simple and near-tautological observation that there’s no longer a Soviet Union in large part because its economy became so anemic.
Yet some people believed that the Soviet Union’s version of socialism could be economically successful. I wrote about their naivete as part of my collection of essays on the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.
I suppose we can partially forgive them because much of the economic misery in the Soviet Union was hidden from outsiders.
What’s less forgivable is that some people still make absurd claims about the Soviet economy. Consider this screenshot of the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on the economy of the Soviet Union. I’ve highlighted in red the parts that are laughable.
Though, to be fair, there wasn’t a problem with unemployment and job security in the Soviet Union.
Just like slaves in Alabama in 1830, Soviet workers were victims of state coercion. They were forced to show up at the collective farms and state-run industries.
And state coercion was the basis of a failed system. Contrary to whoever authored that Wikipedia entry, the Soviet Union did not enjoy high growth rates.
A 1994 World Bank study by William Easterly and Stanley Fischer exposed the Soviet Union’s very poor track record.
“Worst in the world” is quite an achievement.
Not that any sentient being should be surprised. Politicians are bureaucrats don’t do a good job of allocating labor and capital.
If you want prosperity, it’s not a good idea to have central planning and other features of socialism.
Here’s a fascinating look at the world’s largest economies (by overall size, not on a per-capita basis) from 1961-1989.
Here’s a chart based on the Maddison database, so we can make comparisons based on per-capita economic output.
As you can see, even though convergence theory says poor countries should grow faster than rich countries, the gap between the United States and the Soviet Union grew ever larger.