I often see closing stores, restaurants, cafes, and hair salons in the city. I genuinely feel sorry for the owners of these businesses, who undoubtedly suffered huge losses. When I think about such bankrupt companies on the scale of the country, my heart bleeds. How many resources, money, and efforts were spent in vain? No one will reimburse these businessmen for expenses on rent and repairs of premises, on employees’ salaries, and advertising. Part of the gross national product was simply thrown to the wind. Our entire country became a little poorer along with these businessmen. In such moments, I sometimes have a wild thought that some more centralized economic planning system would be more effective. I recall the Soviet Union, when Gosplan planned everything: food, clothing, furniture, car consumption, and directly assigned tasks to factories and plants to produce a certain amount of products, gave local authorities tasks to open a certain number of canteens and cafes, gave canteens clear menu instructions. Everything was thoughtful and planned. One might think that there should be no losses with such a system, but these same memories of the Soviet Union sober me up, reminding me of the flip side of the planned economy. Attempting to centrally plan the needs and aspirations of citizens of a huge country led, firstly, to the unification of goods and services: clothing, food, furniture, the architecture of houses and apartments, making people into faceless robots. Secondly, due to shortages and pervasive household corruption, when non-essential goods were distributed through connections, the ruling elite shared them only among themselves, thus increasing their wealth and power. Ordinary citizens stood in lines and rejoiced at any novelty snatched from the trading system. These are the realities of a planned economy. The free market economy works differently. Thousands of small enterprises: shops, cafes, restaurants, hair salons, pharmacies open every day. They roam the market in search of free niches, capture the smallest needs of people, and try to satisfy them. Those who were not competitive and customer-oriented enough lose and close their business, while the smartest, boldest, most accommodating survive and prosper. This chaotic movement of small particles in search of the best solutions fills all the market space and makes the economy viable. There is no other way to progress.

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