Writing in 1984, Tariq Ali could note how ‘[t]he legacy of Stalinism is most visible today in the political systems that have been established in the USSR and Eastern Europe, China and Indo-China’ (Ali 1984:7). In recent years, however, new totems and fetishisms have arisen in many of these states and in descriptions of their post-communist trajectory and prospects. ‘Transition’ and the ‘market’ have been elevated to transcendental status. In this context, and seeking potential customers amongst the readership of a conservative Sunday newspaper, the manager of a new ‘emerging markets unit trust’ informs us that ‘[t]he sex and violence in emerging markets is in the wild frontiers-places such as Russia and Peru’ (Hinde 1996). Clearly the fantasies of such fund-managers include the notion that capitalism has some sexyviolent frontiers. Yet, to the extent that it can be said to have identifiable frontiers at all,1 some of them might be identified in the cities of that part of the ‘Third’ World which was (and in some cases still is) governed by regimes that are identified as ‘socialist’.