What’s happening in East Germany
The information contained in this article is taken from the Democratic German Report (DGR) which is published and printed in East Germany. Its general theme is anti Bonn Government, but in most issues there is an article on some aspect of life in East Germany. Recent articles have dealt with Agriculture, Gambling, Women, Religion and Education.
If East Germany were a Socialist Society as claimed one would expect the economic and social conditions in East Germany to differ from those in Britain. However, a perusal of the articles in the DGR show that the aims of their society, the problems and the suggested solutions are the same as in Britain.
I. Agriculture (Quotes from D.G.R., Vol. XIII No. 6. 20/3/64.)
Having split the land into small units after the war to hand to the peasants they are now .
“having a big drive to get all farmers , to join co-operatives” and “the final aim is to transform them into enterprises run like industrial enterprises; ”
“the choice of specialisation will depend on the region, the type of soil or grazing land, and on the traditional farming carried out in a particular part of the country.”
“Labour productivity must be vastly increased through rationalisation and mechanisation of farm work.”
“Investments will have to be channelled into the most important projects.”
Note that this is the pattern of agricultural development in the “Western World.” Farmers in the U.K. and U.S.A. specialise; they attempt to raise the productivity of labour (i.e., raise the value of the output of the labourer proportionately more than any percentage increase in wages); they are mechanising and enlarging their holdings.
Why do they do this? Capitalism has only one God—profit, and the aim in farming, as in any other enterprise, is to increase the opportunities for maximising profit. It is no different in East Germany. Commenting on the larger cooperatives the D.G.R. states they
“now had their own machinery and were trying out new farming methods on their larger fields; their bigger herds of livestock were better housed, could be looked after with proportionately less labour power and were more profitable.” (Our italics.)
In this “desirable Socialist” society there is a “steady drain of young people away from the land and into better paid, more comfortable jobs in industry.”
Who paid them so badly in farming? The state farms? The Cooperative Farmers? Or the 50 per cent. of farmers who are not in cooperatives? In the U.K. we all witness the drain away from the land. In the USA the farm population is falling by nearly a million people every year, It seems that in East Germany, the UK and the USA, workers have the same need—“better paid, more comfortable jobs,” and these are not to be found easily on the land.
“There is quite a lot of betting and gambling in the D.G.R., but no overall figures are available on the sums spent on these pastimes. You can lose your money on the horses at two race courses near Berlin, but the most popular forms of betting are football pools, similar to those in Britain, and various forms of “Lotto” in which you pick your numbers which you hope may come up in a weekly draw. In addition, there is the old fashioned lottery in which you just buy a ticket and hope for the best.”
“All these various forms of taking a chance are nationally owned or municipally owned and nobody makes a fortune out of betting with the exception of a very few winners who may get pay outs ranging up to about 500,000 marks (about £45,000).”
“What happens to the winnings? They are not subject to income or/and property tax so long as they remain in the bank and are not re-invested, and they accumulate the usual 3 per cent, interest paid on bank savings.”
“Some (winners) say they must go home and think. . . .”
“Others say they want to buy a car or a house first. Most winners take out the odd thousands and deposit larger sums. Older people sometimes decide to settle sums on their children or open savings accounts for their grandchildren, and many give quite large sums to various good causes, including the Society for the Protection of Animals.”
“People very seldom seem to give up their jobs on the spur of the moment and go on the spree, although some cases have come to light. . . .”
The “spots” of East German society look even more like those in Britain. There is only one reason—it suffers from the same disease—capitalism!