Ideas that add up #44

Above all, the centrally planned state, far from creating a classless society, ended up by enshrining class stratification. Where goods were allocated rather than bought, the real rewards were perquisites of office: special stores, hospitals, educational opportunities for cadres. Enormous discretion in the hands of officials inevitably led to corruption. Jobs, education, and most perquisites depended on some kind of personal relationship. It is one of history’s ironies that Communism, advertised as bringing a classless society, tended to breed a privileged class of feudal proportions. It proved impossible to run a modern economy by central planning, but no Communist state had ever been run without central planning.

Kissinger in On China

A self-calcifying system in which economic influence is limited to a small pool of people resistant to change. Life becomes the pursuit of perks and privilege.

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