Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lenin, Friedman and starvation

After denomination of the currency in North Korea prices went high and people started facing hunger again. It took the North Korean government 2 months to react on the issue and in the late January Kim Jong Il held a special summit related to starvation crisis.

Since that time the central government sends 5 kg of rice daily to each People's Unit and from 5 to 15kg to enterprises and businesses (if one can call them such).
That caused the relief to citizens and no new cases of starvation have been reported so far.

Officials in local authorities are said to be punished if they do not supervise the aid properly and react to the circumstances.

All of that is a surprising reaction of the government which rules ruthlessly the communist state and where citizens have no rights whatsoever.

It is possible that this time if they do not react, people of North Korea will finally revolt against the regime.

The optimal social system for people to live in has been always a subject of dispute. Obviously democracy is the God's favorite, but economic conditions are the topic on the table.

More or less 130 years ago in Great Britain two social activists have invented basics of socialism which were later applied into bloody action by Lenin himself.

If we think about contemporary China or North Korea, that all was invented in Europe as a response to abusive capitalism with no welfare and social care.

On the surface communism is not bad at all. It assumes fair share of all goods between everyone involved in the system. But what is more in human nature is competition and comparison to others. Most of times we are happy to have more than others and it is just this way in our genes. To impose ideas which are against human nature one needs strong power and system of control, that is what happens in communism.

On the other hand some time ago in USA a guy named Milton Friedman invented the idea that the market regulates itself and that all players behavior is rational and aims for the best. That is not quite true and everyone knows as much.

But such a conflict remains. Conflict between a system of chances and responsibility and system of shortages and regulated life. People prefer to have, to possess and to be happy. This is in their basic needs.

Communism itself led always to the economy of shortages. And it was exactly that which made regimes collapsed provided that they were not aided externally.

Last thought which comes to my mind is that socialism in democratic states made enourmous career and settled down in the social and economic system, placed itself forever in Germany, France or Scandinavia. State protection system which is imposed by force will sooner or later collapse. Better sooner than later.


  1. When times are good, capitalism prevails but in times of crisis, self-preservation takes over and then the weak feels the pinch. Under such circumstances, Govt mediation is required to sort the mess and impose control. Then people extol the virtues of socialism.
    Friedman and others of the Chicago school made a lot of idealized assumptions while making that prediction. The fact is, the modern global economy is too complicated. Economics and mathematics are yet to reach the level of sophistication to give reliable models and predictions.

  2. Oh yes, I can't agree more with you :) Though there is always a temptation to ban communism ( would be great to impose it forever)... just like the nazi movement is prohibited almost globally :) but it is a dream I am afraid...

  3. Fascism as a political alternative was defeated in 1945, and Communism in 1989, what remains are some personal dictatorships, like Cuba and NK, who pretend to be loyal to the old dogmas, and party dictatorships like China, that anyway have thrown away the most part of their old ideology. Now in Latin America are appearing new left wing populists, like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, who try to transform their societies into socialist- and progressively authoritarian- systems, but I hope they will be stopped by their own people before the democracy be finally destroyed. Venezuela, a big oil exporter, is suffering electricity and water shortages, clear signals that they are on the long march towards the socialism.

  4. Oh yeah, that is very true. Caudillo system combined with brainwash can do a lot of harm... I hope they can be stopped by own people, but what if he gives higer retirements and free food at schools, like Lukashenka does... this I would not like to experience...

    And Washington's attention is in Africa, OMG.


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