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The Super Market

In response to this post on the marvelousness of supermarkets, David Boaz and a few other people reminded me of something that I’d completely forgotten: Boris Yeltin’s visit to an American supermarket. Among the people to remind me is Tom Altman, who sent this e-mail (which I share with his kind permission; photo and links added):

The additional suggestion would be to reference Boris Yeltsin’s famous 1989 visit — following one to the nearby NASA Johnson Space Center — to a Randall’s supermarket in the Houston suburb of Clear Lake, where he was reportedly astounded at the options available there and how incredibly better they were than those available, even to members of the Politburo, in the Soviet Union. I’ve seen several articles describing that experience and would suggest one by Jon Miltimore (“How a Russian’s Grocery Store Trip in 1989 Exposed the Lie of Socialism,” The Federalist, 11/13/19) as a good, compact addition to your suggested reading for anyone even tempted by socialism. I also like one from the local newspaper (Craig Hlavaty, “When Boris Yeltsin Went Grocery Shopping in Clear Lake,” Houston Chronicle, 4/7/14) which includes the memorable observations “it wasn’t all the screens, dials, and wonder at NASA that blew up his skirt, it was the unscheduled trip inside a nearby Randall’s location” and “a Yeltsin biographer later wrote that on the plane ride to Yeltsin’s next destination, Miami, he was despondent. He couldn’t stop thinking about the plentiful food at the grocery store and what his countrymen had to subsist on in Russia. In Yeltsin’s own autobiography, he wrote about the experience at Randall’s, which shattered his view of communism.” A very nice confirmation of your comment “I know of no better and more accessible proof of capitalism’s success than the supermarket.”

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