In the last 5 years, I've visited China, Russia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Based on what I saw there, I have reached these conclusions:
There are some hard-working, enterprising people living in all of those former or current Communist places. Selling stuff to tourists--handcrafts, traditional crafts and costumes, jewelry made from native materials, traditional rustic musical instruments, entertainment, counterfeit money, and so on--and to each other provides a decent income for many people in all those places, although only the big-time criminals seem to be getting rich from the crime industry (principally in Russia and Romania). There are still a few people who complain because they were used to guaranteed employment for everyone and now people have to scramble to find appropriate work, but they grow fewer every year.
War years are hard on everyone on whose soil the wars are fought. As Lech Walesa said when he couldn't recall which army had crossed Poland at a particular time, "When you're being invaded, the identity of the invaders isn't the most important thing on your mind."
People in the countries whose climate supports it have learned to feed themselves without waiting for a "food industry" or "delivery system." In the countries along the Danube between Budapest and the Black Sea, nearly every house is surrounded by a vegetable garden and fruit or nut trees. Rural Chinese also have access to garden space (although when one lives in high-rise apartments in cities of 25,000,000 to 35,000,000, available garden spots are not so plentiful). Those people KNOW what they're eating because they grew it. You?
Russia during the 75 years of communism erected some of the ugliest architecture imaginable. The good news is that much of it was shoddily built and is crumbling.
So tell me again what you're planning to do to overcome the hardships of a "planned" economy? To make up for the lack of a de-regulated US "food industry," "mortgage industry," "construction industry," and other industries? To compensate for the slow-down of US jobs going to other countries when the tax breaks for sending jobs overseas end? You're going to adulterate your bread with sawdust, "like the old days," are you? Personally, I would like to see our food supply MORE regulated, since we aren't growing our own, sort of like the EU regulates what can be sold for food, and I am looking forward to companies that build new factories in other countries losing their tax break for doing so.
At the same time, there is a German company that owns and operates a factory in this town that is about to expand and create more manufacturing-related jobs--not because we have cheap labor but because we have a trained labor force that can make their products effectively and efficiently for delivery in the US. German engineering, US productivity--a hard combination to beat. I find it hard to believe that this little backwater of a town is unique in that regard, and I wonder if it's not possible for labor forces in other places to be adequately trained to attract investment from other countries. Maybe "global production, global marketplace" is viable after all.
Answered By: Miz T - 11/13/2012