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The conversion to a capitalist system has devastated former Soviet republics. In 1997 I visited the newly independent Republic of Moldova, sandwiched between the Ukraine and Romania. As in Russia, essential services have collapsed. Life expectancy in Moldova is plummeting, the average wage is just $40 a month, and half of the country’s 4.5 million people live on less than $1 a day. Winters are bitter, but the government can’t afford to heat hospitals, schools, or other public buildings. The inhumanity of all this comes home to me when a Moldovan woman who works for an American aid project tells me of a friend whose newborn froze to death in the hospital’s maternity ward. The mother didn’t complain. After decades of communism, the woman tells me, “Moldovans are resigned to their suffering.”

Incredibly, in the midst of this deprivation, American experts teach the basics of capitalism to those strong enough to seize market opportunities. In the center of the capital, the government has built a pristine stock exchange, equipped with state-of-the-art computers and trading software. The idea is that if Moldova looks like a capitalist country, it will act like one. Not so. The exchange is moribund because demand for Moldovan stocks is minuscule; perversely, most of the action comes from organized criminals and tax evaders who, through a loophole in the law regarding cash purchases, can launder their money through stock purchases.

“Our American experiment in Moldova isn’t a success,” says Vince Morabito, an American aid worker in the country. “We’ve exported our lack of social conscience.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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