The officials have arrived in a new American car, which jolts the three of them through the dark streets. Rubashov remarks that such foreign cars are so expensive, and the roads ruin them. The official asks if the roads are any better in capitalist states: Rubashov, grinning, asks if he was ever outside. The boy says he knows what it’s like there anyway. Rubashov says quietly that he should study Party history a little.
The nation or city where this is taking place is never named, though it can be assumed to be the Soviet Union. America is the typical political and economic counterpoint, the embodiment of the capitalist system as opposed to the communist one. Again, Rubashov has little respect for the new generation.