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The free market has been a double edged sword for Kyrgyzstan. As the saying went in the early 1990s, Soviets had money and nothing to buy, post-Soviets had plenty to buy and no money. Yes, people are free to be entrepreneurs, but without income, few can buy their wares or services. Henry Ford was right about one thing; in order to sell cars, his workers needed to be able to buy cars. There is plenty of will and many ideas, but capitalism has created mind-bogglng povery and corruption of Biblical proportions, both of whic are unsustainable.


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The subject of women in the former Soviet Union is complex one for the historian and the human geographer. Having once had legally enforced equality, women are now often relegated to traditional tribal roles. Anecdotally, when I teach students overseas, I have to fnd a way to estabish common ground, especially when teaching American history. I often ask students if their grandparents owned farms in order to discuss rural history with urban students. I was taen aback the first time I asked a student, "What did your grandmother do?" and was met with the answer, "She was a physicist."

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