A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 28, 2010
“Under capitalism, man exploits man; under communism, it is the other way around’’

Both Poland and Russia claim this capitalism/communism joke in 1958.

From Journey to Poland and Yugoslavia (1958) by John Kenneth Galbreath: “Do you know the difference between capitalism and communism? Under capitalism man exploits man. Under communism it is just the reverse.”

Henry Shapiro, the United Press Moscow correspondent, was credited with this, in March 1958: “Under Capitalism, man exploits man; under Communism, it’s vice versa.”


Wikipedia: John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth “Ken” Galbraith, OC (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006) was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism and progressivism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 1970s and he filled the role of public intellectual in this period on matters of economics.

Google Books
Journey to Poland and Yugoslavia
By John Kenneth Galbraith
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
1958
Pg. 57:
Do you know the difference between capitalism and communism? Under capitalism man exploits man. Under communism it is just the reverse.

10 March 1958, San Mateo (CA) Times, “Leopard in Palestin” by Leonard Lyons, pg. 18, col. 6:
Henry Shapiro, UP’s Moscow correspondent, described the difference between Capitalism and Communism: “Under Capitalism, man exploits man; under Communism, it’s vice versa.”

Google Books
Portrait of Poland
By Bernard Newman
London: R. Hale
1959
Pg. 16:
“Under Capitalism man exploits man. Under Communism it is vice versa.”

Google Books
The real Russia
By Irving R. Levine
London: Allen
1959
Pg. 204:
The tourist may be surprised on occasion to hear a recently made Russian acquaintance (often in a show of bravado) recite a ‘shocking’ local joke: ‘Do you know the difference between capitalism and communism? In capitalism man exploits man. In communism it’s vice versa.’

Google Books
Know Your Enemy
Second Edition
By Delia S. Mares
Houston, TX: Gulf Pub. Co.
1961
Pg. 161:
In 1958 the most popular Polish joke ran as follows: Do you know the difference between capitalism and communism? Under capitalism man exploits man. Under communism it is just the reverse.

Google Books
Soviet Man and His World
By Klaus Mehnert
New York, NY: Praeger
1962
Pg. 226:
The answer: ‘Under Capitalism man exploits man, under Communism it’s just the other way round.”

Google News Archive
23 June 1962, Lawrence (KS) Daily Journal-World, “The Lyons Den” by Leonard Lyons, pg. 4, col. 7:
DIFFERENCE: It was at a party in Poland that Nikita Krushchev told a U.S. diplomat: “The difference between capitalism and communism is that under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s the reverse.”

Google News Archive
25 June 1979, Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), “These are real Polish jokes” by Hugh A. Mulligan, pg. 6, col. 3:
Polish students, avid for blue jeans, disco music and other decadent emblems of the consumer society, like to present American tourists with a riddle:

“What is the difference between capitalism and communism?”

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it is the other way around.”

New York (NY) Times
Letters; EAST-WEST IRREVERENCE
Published: June 13, 1981
To the Editor:
William Styron (Op-Ed June 7) refers to a ‘’likable quotation from John Kenneth Galbraith’’: ‘’Under capitalism man exploits man. Under Communism, it is just the reverse.’’ I’m sure Professor Galbraith would be the first to say that he did not originate this line. It has been current behind the Iron Curtain for at least a generation.

Here is a variation on the theme: What is the difference between capitalism and socialism? Capitalism makes social errors. Socialism makes capital errors.
RICHARD HANSER, Mamaroneck, N.Y., June 8, 1981

New York (NY) Times
The Ides of Marx
Published: March 15, 1988
Old joke in Eastern Europe: Q. What is the difference, comrade, between Communism and capitalism? A. Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under Communism, the situation is reversed.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, March 28, 2010 • Permalink