A Samizdat political cartoon distributed illegally in the early 1980s in Eastern Europe showed the Soviet Politburo staring in astonishment at John Kenneth Galbraith’s assessment that the Soviet economy was thriving and that it was two-thirds the size of the US economy, and in a few years the USSR would out-do the US economically. Hardly anyone could have been surprised by Galbraith’s estimate except the Soviet leaders who knew the truth. The conservatives in the US knew Galbraith’s profound incompetence despite his fame as an economist, so they weren’t too surprised when he said what he said. The liberals – just like today – didn’t care for facts and truth, as long as they heard what they wanted to hear. The educated readers in Eastern Europe – provided they had access to Western sources – knowing the gullibility of alleged “economists” like Galbraith and Samuelson, weren’t surprised either. But the Politburo knew the truth very well, that the Soviet economy was indeed two-thirds, but of the Belgian economy, not of the US economy; and they must have been quite surprised to discover that a man who passed for knowledgeable in the US could make such gigantic blunders in his economic studies.

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