East Germans Getting Nostalgic For Socialism

Repost from the old site.

Although there were reportedly some serious problems with East German socialism (the Trabant, the ubiquitous vehicle, was a piece of junk), with the recent chaos in world capitalism, many East Germans are now saying that they would rather have socialism than capitalism. A recent survey found that 53% felt that the free market was “unsuitable,” and 43% said that they wanted a socialist system rather than a capitalist one.

Sales of Marx’s Das Kapital have tripled since last year and increased 100X since 1990, although sales as a whole remain low. The publisher expressed amazement and said that he never thought the book would sell well again. He said that even bankers and managers are reading it to try to figure out what’s going in with the turmoil in capitalist economics.

The switch from socialism to capitalism has not worked out very well in the East. Unemployment and poverty are very high. The outskirts of Berlin, Leipzig and the Baltic shore and doing well, but the rest of the region is doing poorly. It’s actually suffering depopulation.

One of the problems with East Germany was that the factories were really not competitive by Western standards. After reunification, they were bought by Western competitors and shut down. That seems devious. The Left Party, a genuine Leftist party, now has 30% support in the East and is the most popular party.

One serious problem with Communism has been that, although in general it got rid of poverty, it was unable to provide more than a low standard of living. Nowadays, for better or worse, people want stuff. They don’t want empty stores, lines, shortages and crappy products. Social capital only goes so far with people. This is going to be a real challenge for modern socialists.

In addition, there was often great economic growth for decades, but then it all bogged down into bureaucracy. Another vexing problem to be dealt with.

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7 thoughts on “East Germans Getting Nostalgic For Socialism”

  1. Do you think the western way of life is sustainable indefinitely, considering environmental and energy issues?

    1. Probably not, but I try not to think about it too much. Too depressing. Plus capitalist humans are seriously suicidal. They would sooner ruin the whole planet than give up their capitalism or even make changes to it.

      1. Massively regulated capitalism (think Western European environmental regulations on steroids) may be able to provide long-term environmental sustainability, but it’s not clear the business class will permit this to happen.

    2. No, in a word. Everything’s about to get tougher, and in fairly short order. I intend t0 be around in 2035, by time the challenges of 2010, even in the rich countries, will look like child’s play. I’ve started to do some research on this. When Joel Kovel’s The Enemy of Nature came out in 2002, I read it then and at the time thought it quite a good introduction to the unsustainability of capitalism. The chapter on marxist economics and the Bhopal tragedy is just brilliant. He has since published a revised edition. Kovel is a brilliant. His stuff on psychoanalysis is amazing. I haven’t read anything by him on white racism, but he did write about that.
      Robert’s right. Capitalist accumulation ravages the earth, and capitalists are lemmings in human form charging over a cliff lol…

      1. Hey Abiezer, what do you think of the increasing Orwellian, big-brother police state surveillance that is enveloping the Western world, particularly America? It’s gotten to the point where Internet anonymity has been effectively destroyed.

  2. Rob, you once wrote that the breakup of the USSR was a progressive moment in 20th century history? How can you call yourself a leftist after such a statement? You do realize what happened in Russia and around the world after 1990, don’t you? Gorbachev was a traitorous, cowardly, slimebag on the CIA payroll.

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