Monday, June 21, 2010

The Nostalgic Feeling for East Berlin?

Tyler Cowen writes of Berlin:
There are, however, a fair number of Russian tourists who enjoy the nostalgic feeling they get walking through the eastern part of the city and visiting communist monuments and sites.
Cowen, obviously, never was in East Berlin before the wall came down. I was.

Unless you are into a gray, drab trapped feeling with soldiers and police watching your every move, there is nothing to be nostalgic about in East Berlin. But thinking people crave nostalgia for the old East Berlin (or the old Russia) sure does provide even further insight into Cowen's deep down understanding of economics.

I recall an NBA player, I forget the name--it was a long time ago, who toured in Eastern Europe before the wall came down and he was quoted as saying that for Americans to really understand the difference between capitalism and communism, they all needed to go on the tour he just went on. The difference was stark. Communism is not a walk in the park.

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