“Socialist commerce” was a contradiction in terms, just like “socialist philosophy.” The ancient trade that kept people and goods moving implied individual will, initiative, and intelligence. State commerce, on the other hand, since all businesses belonged to the state and operated on a strictly planned basis, required only bureaucracy, regular replenishments, fresh victims.

– Norman Manea, The Hooligan’s Return: A Memoir, trans. Angela Jianu, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2003, pp. 167-8

– Norman Manea, 26 April 2008