by Chris Bodenner

Lauren Goodrich and Peter Zeihan compare the vast, interconnected river system of the US to the large but sparse and isolated rivers of Russia:

So while geography handed the United States the perfect transport network free of charge, Russia has had to use every available kopek to link its country together with an expensive road, rail and canal network. One of the many side effects of this geography situation is that the United States had extra capital that it could dedicate to finance in a relatively democratic manner, while Russia's chronic capital deficit prompted it to concentrate what little capital resources it had into a single set of hands - Moscow's hands. So while the United States became the poster child for the free market, Russia (whether the Russian Empire, Soviet Union or Russian Federation) has always tended toward central planning.

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