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Saturday Socialism

Here is a treat from Tim Harford’s book, Adapt:

The first major worker strike in Soviet history took place in 1989 when 250,000 coal miners walked away from their jobs.

Part of the protest was about grotesquely dangerous conditions: the death rate for Soviet miners was 15 to 20 TIMES higher than it was for their American equivalents, with the local pits claiming the lives of over 50 men per month.

But the strike was also provoked by simple deprivation: the miners had no meat or fruit to eat, and few had access to soap or hot water.

After risking their lives each day in the suffocating depths, they could not wash themselves or rest comfortably.

President Gorbachev was forced to appear on national TV, acknowledging the justice of the miners’ cause and offer substantial concessions.

The miners who walked out and humiliated Gorby worked in the Don Basin – 60 years after Peter Palchinsky was executed and 88 years after he had initially pointed out the problems with working conditions at this site … the Soviet system had still failed to adapt.

I get it. Socialism is an “infant industry.” Give it time to work out the kinks. It’ll be all good soon.

4 Responses to “Saturday Socialism”

  1. Michael says:

    Don’t forget to give it some subsidies; how else will it be able to compete?

  2. RIT_Rich says:

    As Comrade Obama pointed out, what we (and socialism) were missing, was “smart government”. If only the Soviets had the “right” people in charge, things would have been different. Fortunately, we appear to have all the “right” people in charge now.

  3. Harry says:

    This event would not have occurred if Gorby had raised the minimum wage and strengthened their immigration/emigration laws. In addition to giving bigger rations of “meat and fruit,” he also should have mandated more cruciferous vegetables and a post-shoveling stretching routine, and more Stoli.

  4. Brian says:

    a few more years of having the “right’ people in charge and soap and vegetables will be difficult to obtain.

    Does anyone know where i can find a rational analysis of the effects of QE on the economy? I don’t understand why we don’t have more inflation and the price of gold is falling.

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