Cautionary Tales – the Rise and Fall of a Megalomaniac

12th April, 2024

Nicolae Ceaușescu was not beloved. His regime was vicious and he treated Romania as his personal wallet: while Ceaușescu emptied the coffers to construct a vast, ornate palace, his people starved. He imposed disastrous population control policies on his country too, which saw hundreds of thousands of unwanted children left to rot in squalid orphanages.

Ceaușescu’s rule endured for a quarter of a century – then crumbled overnight.

How do dictatorships unravel? Tim Harford partners with HBO’s new series “The Regime” to investigate real-life dictatorships and the social science that explains them.

[Apple] [Spotify] [Stitcher]

Further Reading

The account of the Ceausescus’ misrule and attempted flight draws principally on three books – The Rise and Fall of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu by Mark Almond, The Life and Evil Times of Nicolae Ceausescu by John Sweeney, and Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite by Edward Behr – with additional details taken from various online sources (e.g. 1234). You can watch Nicolae Ceausescu’s final speech on YouTube.

Information cascades were initially described in 1992 paper by Sushil Bikhchandani, David Hirshleifer and Ivo Welch. Steven Pinker and colleagues explain their butcher-baker experiment and other work in Common knowledge, coordination, and strategic mentalizing in human social life

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This