"The loudest and most important lesson of the Soviet experience should always be: don't ever do this again. Children, don't try this at home." A new book chronicles the failed experiment: "Yet we'd better remember to sympathise with the underlying vision that drove this disastrous history, because it is basically our own. As the ideological conflicts of the 20th century recede, it becomes clearer that the Soviet project for red plenty was just one in the 20th-century family of projects to hoick humanity out of its ancestral scarcity. The Soviet version is the cousin of ours; the loony cousin with blood 'up to the elbows' but still one of the family. Through luck rather than virtue, for the most part, we happen to live in a variant that has succeeded better, so far. Our version isn't costless either."