A popular joke is told about a failed economic state:
Q: What did socialists use before candles?
The “What did we use before candles?” joke dates to at least 1964, when it appeared in Time magazine to refer to Czechoslovakia under communism. The joke has been told about Zimbabwe (1992), New Zealand (1998), Zambia (2002), Kenya (2009) and many other countries.
“What did socialists use before candles?” was cited on Twitter on May 1, 2012, when this form of the joke went viral.
Volume 84, Part 1
Iron Curtain: An Economic Mess
Friday, July 31, 1964
“What did we (Czechoslovakia—ed.) use before candles’?” runs a favorite joke. The answer: “Electricity.”
Africa Calls Worldwide
And Hwange is prone to generator failures, plunging large areas of Zimbabwe into darkness: Prompting the joke: “What did Zimbabwe use before candles? Electricity!”
U.S. News & World Report
Volume 124, Issues 8-16
What did New Zealanders use before candles? Electricity. That’s the joke stinging Auckland as the country’s largest city tries to cope with a severe power shortage that is now into its second month.
In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz:
Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo
By Michela Wrong
Fourth Estate Classic House
‘What did Zambia use before candles came along?’ it goes. ‘Electricity.’
#KenyansOnTwitter ~ What did Kenyans use before candles? - Electricity. ~ #kplc #fail #countrywide
10:35 AM - 1 Nov 2009
12 year old joke: What did Aucklanders use before candles? A: Electricity
10:08 PM - 24 Jan 2010
What did communists use before candles? Electricity!!
8:15 AM - 3 Aug 2010
Q: What did communists use before candles?
(Because their ruinous economic ideals destroyed the wealth of their country).
2:27 PM - 19 Mar 2012
What did socialists use before candles?... #ows #RONPAUL #TCOT
1:34 PM - 1 May 2012
JULY 22, 2014
SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.”
“Q: What did South Africa use before candles? A: Electricity.” A country struggles in the dark http://econ.st/1tJPwHa
2:42 PM - 5 Jan 2015
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, February 08, 2015 • Permalink