A reader at Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish makes an interesting observation:
One of the most powerful lessons of history was certainly played out in the 43 year period between the end of Word War II and 1988. By the end of that time, it was completely obvious that people living under communism were not doing as well as most people living under some form of capitalism (at least in Europe). This became well known to the folks living in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and contributed greatly to the downfall of communism, among other factors.
For the last 21 years, we have been following a similar social experiment between different styles of capitalism: more regulated and less regulated. Several western countries including Ireland and Iceland, as well as some of the Baltic countries, got rid of many regulations, particularly regulations regarding finance. For a while, their economies were shining stars, but now they are a mess. The US and Britain, the least regulated large economies, are now suffering greatly as well from the financial bubble. While Old Europe (to steal a phrase from Don Rumsfeld) is not nearly as affected by the recent debacle.