Instapundit linked to a Daily Mail piece showing images from the USSR in 1991, shortly before the collapse of the communist Soviet Union. The images are what you would expect – sad looking people waiting in long lines for scarce resources in rundown facilities. Then I saw this photo. Is that an abacus? This was 1991, and this business was using an abacus?
I went through the photos again, and saw another abacus. At least in this one they also had a cash register, even though it looks like something from the 1950s.
I don’t recall ever seeing an abucus growing up in the US the in the 70s and 80s, other than maybe a little toy or a lesson in ancient calculators. But according to Wikipedia the abacus was used widely throughout the Soviet Union, even after the invention of the calculator. It wasn’t replaced by the handheld calculator until after the communist empire fell.
Gee, do you think maybe nobody could afford a calculator because they were living under the boot of communism?