I survived Communism: Part four

Statues remembering the victims of the Communist era in the Czech capital Prague

The article below was written by?Zuzana Janosova Den Boer, who experienced Communist rule in Czechoslovakia before coming to Canada.

Economic Consequences of Communism:

Do you think communism failed because of oppression?  No. You can brainwash and threaten people, keep them dangling like puppets, until the supply of goods starts to disappear.   Economic reality always prevails.

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other?s people money.

Margaret Thatcher?

The economic consequences of communism are always the same ? poverty, and this one comes with an ironclad guarantee ? a lifetime warranty. People always spend their own money more carefully than someone else?s. Capitalism is about efficiency. Private businesses must spend their capital very carefully. They cannot afford to make investments in their business unless they are sure it will be worth it. A mistake could result in an increased price for their product, reduced cash-flow, loss of competitiveness and eventual bankruptcy.

In a centrally planned economy, all production is controlled by government. The revenue required to operate the government and the economy is obtained through taxation. Because a centrally planned economy is not subject to the laws of supply and demand, financial goals become meaningless, since there are no penalties for not achieving them.  Thus, long-term government plans are never fulfilled and financial goals are replaced by imaginary production quotas.

The result is profligate waste and inefficiency on a monumental scale. Communism institutes mandatory employment with pre-determined duties and salaries. The problem is the lack of goods and services. Even if you have money, you will have few opportunities to spend it for your own benefit.

Life under Communism:

What is life under communism like? In the Eastern Bloc countries, shortages of basic goods began in the 1980s. People had to get up at 3 AM in order to stand in line for basic necessities: bread, milk, meat, eggs, toilet paper, oil, et cetera. You could stand in line for hours and not even get a chance to buy something, once products ran out.

Other appealing aspects:

??Want an apartment? You can?t buy one; real-estate markets don?t exist. You?ll probably get one (eventually) for free, but the government will decide the size, type, location, as well as your position in the queue, which may take years.

?Want a car? ?You must first submit an application, or buy a permit, to buy a car from the government, then wait in line, for years. The wait time might be 2-3 years, or it could be as long as 7-10 years.

?Want to use some recreational facilities (government built, of course) for your vacation? You need to be approved by a labor union, and wait.

?Want day-care for your child? Submit an application, and wait.

?Want a garage for your car? Submit an application, and wait. I submitted an application for a garage in 1988. When I left Slovakia in 1997, I still had not received a response.

Sound idyllic??But here?s the best part: there?s no guarantee you will?ever?receive an apartment, car, garage, daycare, recreation, or anything else you might want. If there is?any?record (ever) of your non-compliance with communist ideology,?you will receive nothing. As one communist leader informed me, after I refused to become a member of a socialist party: ?Forget about an apartment, forget about day-care, forget about a salary raise, forget about any benefits.? ??

Communism results in the poverty of an entire society. By comparison, free-market capitalism has lifted the highest number of people out of poverty in human history.