Bryan has brought up the issue of economics textbooks that over-rated the Soviet Union’s economic prospects. For some reason, Brad DeLong feels obliged to go after Bryan about this.

My view on the Soviet Union is that it collapsed because of moral rot. In that sense, I think Ayn Rand is more relevant than Hayek. I think that the Soviets could have survived their misallocations of capital and the problems with socialist calculation. What they could not survive was the corruption that permeated their system. It is this moral rot, as represented in Atlas Shrugged by Wesley Mouch, that destroys state-run economies.

What is disturbing is the extent to which this sort of corruption has seeped into our own society. The cumulative effect of bank bailouts, unfunded liabilities in entitlement programs, and environmentalist energy planning (the Energy Secretary turning taxpayers into unwitting and unwilling venture capitalists in the electric car industry) will be to create serious moral rot. And the only force standing in the way is the Tea Party.

Have a nice day.