In the early 1960s, the USSR was implementing a crackdown against economic crimes, and the highest profile court case was the prosecution of two young men called Rokotov and Faibishenko. They were heavily involved in black market currency deals, and had a profitable sideline in smuggling jeans and other Western clothing. With the campaign to enforce ‘socialist legality’ in full swing, both men were sentenced to death. Reportedly, as Rokotov was led to the firing squad, his last words were: “Jeans are the best pants in the world.”
This illustrates something that I think has deep implications for economic policy.