I’m currently trying to figure out how the American economy works and elaborate my own position on the economic issues. Right now, I don’t have a definitive point of view because I simply don’t possess enough information to arrive at it. In the nearest future, I will be writing a series of posts that will record my attempts to create my personal approach to the issues of economy. This series will be titled “Thinking About the Economy.”
For the most part, I’m not content with how the Liberal sources I access deal with the economic issues. Back in the Soviet Union, we were all really unhappy with the kind of economy we had. For us, everything that wasn’t similar to the only system we knew and abhorred had to be perfect. The logic behind this was that if the system we are familiar with sucks, then its exact opposite should be great. So we all worshiped capitalism as some kind of a paradise where everybody is rich, has cars, yachts and houses and is happy beyond belief.
In 1991, we were dragged by history through a rapid transition to capitalism. For many people, their first encounter with capitalism was deeply traumatic. We discovered that capitalism brought about very visible income inequalities (they always existed in the USSR, of course, but were often concealed from view), the need to offer yourself on the job market, compete and suffer rejection, the necessity to work really hard with no promise of success, the possibility of indigence that was hard to tolerate when you could see your neighbor getting rich and buying diamonds as a matter of course.
Many of us discovered they couldn’t deal with the new reality. Instead of offering us instant riches, capitalism brought many harsh demands that many people were not equipped to meet. The rewards seemed distant and the need to disinter the skills of entrepreneurship and hard work that had been beaten out of us over the decades of Communism was painful.
The reason why I’m telling you all this is that I see a very similar tendency currently at work in the US. People are only familiar with a single economic system, capitalism. They see its defects and believe that what’s needed is the exact opposite. I find this approach to the economy to be naive. Nothing annoys me more than arm-chair Marxists who believe they are militate on behalf of some vaguely defined proletariat they rarely even see.
When I say that collective ownership of the means of production results in an almost instant impoverishment of the population on a scale that Americans cannot even begin to imagine today, I speak from experience. I know that my experience of a person who grew up in the Soviet Union is not fashionable in the intellectual Liberal circles. Nobody wants to hear anything that contradicts their pipe-dream of Communism and socialism.
In the Soviet Union, whenever we heard that there was racism or poverty in the US, we always concluded that it was all just Cold War propaganda. Liberal Americans still believe that everything negative they heard about the USSR was propaganda that doesn’t contain a grain of truth. They seem to need this belief in order to continue engaging in their sad little Marxist fantasies.
I, however, am not prepared to relinquish my own memories for the sake of spoilt rich American kids of pseudo-Liberal persuasion. I want to look for my own understanding of the economy and I don’t care how offended people are that my search subverts their cherished pieties.