Berlin and Korea

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, the parallels between East and West Germany and North and South Korea are still striking.

In each case, one side of the country favors communism, while the other side supports capitalism. The contrasts are striking; no where on earth have we seen such a disparity between “Haves” and “Have-nots.” The Capitalist Haves live their lives in relative comfort and prosperity, while the Have-nots either try to live a life of delusion about Communist ideals, or they risk their lives to cross over to the Capitalist side.

The great irony of all this as I see it, is the fact that Communism has always been about making the masses of “Have-nots” into a Utopian society where everybody is a “Have.” In reality it has been starkly the opposite, to the greatest degree imaginable; under such regimes, nearly everyone lives as a “Have-not,” far below the poverty-line of the “Haves” on the other side of the line.

So, after nearly a century of such stunning failures, it’s remarkable that anyone is still extolling the virtues of Communism. Indeed, Russia and China have largely abandoned their Marxist-Leninist roots, often out of sheer necessity, but stubborn holdouts like Cuba and North Korea hold on, often surviving on handouts from wealthier countries, or just through pure authoritarian terror.

To hijack a phrase from Winston Churchill; “Capitalism is the worst system on earth… except for all the others.”