Monday, May 27, 2013

Food shortages in the USSR and the Communist block

Last Friday we talked about some problems the Centrally Planned Economy caused in the supply of consumer goods in markets. Here you have some more information about this topic: 

On this link of Arte channel you have a complete exhibition about the Communist block from 1975 to 1990. The section dedicated to shortages includes information about the problems the citizens had to access basic goods: 

Here you have a CIA statistic, based on Soviet official data, which shows that many of the countries of the Communist block didn't produce all the staples they needed in 1988. There was a constant production deficit:

Lines were usual when products arrived to the shops. People were afraid of running out of products: 

Behind The Iron Curtain:Shortages

Line to buy shoes

Behind The Iron Curtain:Shortages
Empty shelves

You can watch more photos on the following link: 

And finally, here you have some jokes about lack of consumers' goods in the Soviet block: 

An American boasts "Our Herbert Hoover  (president of the USA from 1928 to 1932) taught people to stop drinking,"

"Big deal," answers the Russian. "Stalin taught people to stop eating."

An American man and a Soviet man died on the same day and went to Hell together. The Devil told them: "You may choose to enter two different types of Hells: the first is the American-style, where you may do anything you like, but at the condition of eating a bucketful of manure everyday; the second is the Soviet-style, where you may ALSO do anything you like, but at the condition of eating TWO bucketfuls of manure a day." The American man chose the American-style Hell, and the Soviet man chose the Soviet-style one. A few months later, they met again. The Soviet man asked the American man: "Hi, how are you going?" The American man said:"I'm fine, but I can't stand the bucketful of manure everyday. How about you?" Answered the Soviet man: "Well, I'm fine, too; except I don't know whether we had a shortage of manure or if somebody stole all the buckets away."

"Dad, can I have the car keys?" 

 "Ok, but don't lose them. We will get the car in just seven years!"

Pole 1: Where are you going?
Pole 2: To Krakow, to buy bread.
Pole 1: Krakow? I heard that only Warsaw has bread.
Pole 2: That's true. But the end of the line is in Krakow.

Question: What did Romanians use for light before they had candles?
Answer: Light bulbs.

Sources of the jokes: 

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