Depressingly spot on post. My wife is from the former East Block and grew up learning the opposite side of the East-West propaganda. She even got to learn to shoot and throw grenades to defend against the inevitable attack from “the west.” We’ve discussed the “East — West” competition often over the years, and as a result I’ve done some research to find out more.
The East European socialist governments did a lot of things wrong, no doubt, but they did do a lot right as well, which is why they could survive so long. What they did best, maybe, was to provide global competition to western style capitalism — the point of your awesome essay. Now, as with any monopoly, western style capitalism is becoming/has become completely oppressive. So oppressive that it threatens to destroy the market it dominates, because its, “customers” are becoming so desperate they will look for any possible alternative.