Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maybe The Things You've Learned Are Slightly Biased

Been meaning to post this for awhile now, but here's a great article by Zsuzsanna Clark about how growing up under communist rule in Hungary was not oppressive and horrid, but actually far happier than are times now under capitalist rule.

It's a fairly balanced viewpoint of how life under communist rule wasn't all peaches and cream, but the introduction of rather ruthless free-market capitalism has not only failed to improve the nation, but has actually introduced a host of serious social problems.

It reminds me a lot of a really wonderful German movie by the great Wolfgang Becker called Good Bye, Lenin! which I can't recommend highly enough. Similar to the article linked above, it's a rather even-handed exploration of how life under communist rule in East Germany had it's ups and downs, but the introduction of capitalism didn't really solve anything, it just substituted a new set of problems for the old.

Both of these are great rejoinders to the images I remember from my early youth and from history books throughout school that life behind the iron curtain was dull and tragic and everyone there was horribly oppressed and miserable at all times. Obviously anyone with some critical thinking skills could figure out that might not be entirely true, but I always find it really fascinating to hear the voices of people who actually lived through all of that, rather than hearing the same tired tropes from people who have a vested interest in making communism look bad. Because it turns out, not only was everyone in the Soviet Union not completely and always miserable, but some of them even enjoyed their lives and approved of the way things were operating...

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