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Highest Standard of Living in Eastern Bloc

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2011, 15:17
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 14:30
Which Warsaw pact country had the highest standard of living, and which had the lowest? What do you think accounted for these differences among the Eastern bloc states?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 17:53
I don't have anything specific at hand, but the general consensus is East Germany was the most developed, with Hungarians being pretty well off as well.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Sep 2009, 07:33
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 19:28
One way we could go by is the UN's Human Development Index. It calculates 'human development' based on three factors: Life Expectancy, Education (adult literacy and gross enrollment), and GDP. The earliest statistics I can find online are from 1990.

130 countries ranked, with the 130th the most developed (in this case Japan with 0.996). An index of 1 would be perfect.

The GDR ranks 110th with 0.953
Czechoslovakia ranks 106th with 0.931
The USSR is 105th with 0.920
Bulgaria is 104th with 0.918
Hungary is 101st with 0.915
Yugoslavia is 100th with 0.913
Poland is 98th with 0.910
Romania is 90th with 0.863

For some comparison:
Canada is 126th with 0.983
The Federal Republic of Germany is 119th with 0.967
The USA is ranked 112th, with 0.961
Cuba is 92nd with 0.877
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 19:30
The GDR and Czechoslovakia were by far the most comfortable countries in the Eastern Bloc.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Jun 2011, 08:37
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 20:07
Red Daughter wrote:
One way we could go by is the UN's Human Development Index. It calculates 'human development' based on three factors: Life Expectancy, Education (adult literacy and gross enrollment), and GDP. The earliest statistics I can find online are from 1990.

130 countries ranked, with the 130th the most developed (in this case Japan with 0.996). An index of 1 would be perfect.

The GDR ranks 110th with 0.953
Czechoslovakia ranks 106th with 0.931
The USSR is 105th with 0.920
Bulgaria is 104th with 0.918
Hungary is 101st with 0.915
Yugoslavia is 100th with 0.913
Poland is 98th with 0.910
Romania is 90th with 0.863

For some comparison:
Canada is 126th with 0.983
The Federal Republic of Germany is 119th with 0.967
The USA is ranked 112th, with 0.961
Cuba is 92nd with 0.877


Looks like the eastern block weren't doing so shabby
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 21:14
And to think that 1990 was actually a pretty terrible year for pretty much the whole socialist (and ex-socialist) bloc due to economic and political crises!


Mabool wrote:
The GDR and Czechoslovakia were by far the most comfortable countries in the Eastern Bloc.


This makes sense considering those countries high level of development even before socialism. We can only imagine how strong socialist Germany would be if the GDR had somehow come to encompass all of Germany in an alternative history.

Regarding Czechoslovakia, I've read that among the Eastern bloc it was more restrictive a place socially than Hungary, the GDR, or USSR. This probably had to do with the events of 1968 and the state's attempts to mitigate them.

Finally, when it comes to Hungary, their goulash socialism had some positive social and economic results, but ultimately was probably unsustainable given the country's deep entanglement with the global debt crises of the period. Due to the interest accumulated on debts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the country is still paying off their debt to this day.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jul 2006, 00:10
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Post 02 Nov 2011, 22:54
where did you get that source RD?

Quote:
Regarding Czechoslovakia, I've read that among the Eastern bloc it was more restrictive a place socially than Hungary, the GDR, or USSR. This probably had to do with the events of 1968 and the state's attempts to mitigate them.


that is most probably true. a guy living in slovakia told me that families going to vacation abroad usually had to leave a child or other close relative at home. minorities were also not treated very well, especially gypsies who were also sterilised according to some reports. then again it wasnt all that better under capitalist system before german annexation.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Sep 2009, 07:33
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Post 03 Nov 2011, 01:21
It seems most of the data for the 1990 report come from the late '80's, generally '87 or '88, a few from '89.

It's all from here: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1990/chapters/. The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has all the Human Development Reports back through 1990 available online as PDFs.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 09 Nov 2011, 18:15
I wouldn't say Czechoslovakia was a more restrictive place than USSR or GDR. The StB was not as pervarsive as the Stasi and the limit on persons who can go to holidays abroad applied only to Yugoslavia, not other Eastern Bloc countries. In the USSR people had to have permission even if the country they wanted to travel to was in the Eastern Bloc, hell, there was even barbed wire on the borders between USSR and Czechoslovakia. I know that USSR was far from a shithole but in the CSSR, people generally more pitied, not hated Soviets, at least that's what I know from my relatives, because they knew they were much better off. And when it comes to media.... well, I think the fact that my father has LPs pressed in CSSR of Western bands like Van Halen, Steve Miller Band, Jennifer Rush, Beatles ... says all. And we even had a domestic metal band, Citron! (And it was not an underground ban, I've got an LP pressed by the state recording firm Opus from them).

Hungary was still better through.

I haven't lived under communism, but I've talked to my parents, grandparents and older acquitances about it. I'm from Slovakia
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
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Post 12 Nov 2011, 23:25
Neuron wrote:
and the limit on persons who can go to holidays abroad applied only to Yugoslavia, not other Eastern Bloc countries.


So, is SFR of Yugoslavia here meant to be a part of the Eastern Block? In that case, Yugoslavia was the country with the highest standard by far.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 16 Nov 2011, 19:38
EdvardK wrote:
So, is SFR of Yugoslavia here meant to be a part of the Eastern Block? In that case, Yugoslavia was the country with the highest standard by far.


If you mean the Slovenian and Croatian parts, yes. Serbia and Bosnia was still very decent, but Kosovo was more like Albania. There was a big imbalance in wealth when it comes to geographical position in SFRY, at least if the statistics say the truth. That is why it is relatively low in the UN list. Still, even Kosovars got to enjoy the bigger freedom that the SFRY had in comparision to other socialist countries.

And I wouldn't really classify SFRY as Eastern Bloc, You were a non-aligned socialist country.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
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Post 16 Nov 2011, 19:54
Neuron wrote:
If you mean the Slovenian and Croatian parts, yes. Serbia and Bosnia was still very decent, but Kosovo was more like Albania.

You're absolutely correct, comrade. But I have to warn you that hoxhaists will jump at the last part of your sentence


Neuron wrote:
Still, even Kosovars got to enjoy the bigger freedom that the SFRY had in comparision to other socialist countries.

You're absolutely correct there, too, comrade, but again - the comparison will make some forum users jump. I expect a couple of quotes by Enver Hoxha fans as a result...


Neuron wrote:
And I wouldn't really classify SFRY as Eastern Bloc, You were a non-aligned socialist country.

Valid as well.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 21 Nov 2011, 19:18
Well, and when it comes to worst living standards, Romania is the clear "winner" here.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
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Post 22 Nov 2011, 00:07
Neuron wrote:
Well, and when it comes to worst living standards, Romania is the clear "winner" here.

How would you rate Albania, comrade?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Sep 2009, 07:33
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Post 22 Nov 2011, 02:56
The UN's HDI figures from 1990 have Albania in 84th, with 0.790; just on the cusp of being listed as one of the countries with "high human development".
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 23 Nov 2011, 11:39
HDI is not all comrades. The problem with Romania was the fact that Caucescau exported everything to repay its debt, including food. That is why there were queues for 6 hours to get even low grade cooking oil in 1980s Romania. Food was rationed and those were starvation rations - like, you could buy only a half a loaf of bread per day, only 10 eggs per month etc. Albania and Romania did actually even have hunger because of that. The only countries to have anything close to shortages this bad were Poland and Albania. All this was happening while Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria were among the world top ten in calorie consumption per person http://elections.thinkaboutit.eu/wp-con ... efacts.gif and the average East German ate more meat than the average West German.

EDIT - Also, my father was there with my grandparents (his parents) for a vacation in mid-1970s and even then, he remembers Romania to be the most underdeveloped country he has ever seen, and he's been to China, Egypt and 1990s Ukraine. He was 11 and he remembers that the only thing in abundance, even at the hotel, were tomatoes, which tourist kids from the bus threw at gypsies who ate them. He remembers that the gypsies stared at the old bus they were in like if it was starship Enterprise
. I've been to Romania last year, and it's still very poor, poorer than Albania that I visited too a few years ago with my parents. By the way, Albania is far from being the "absolutely last" in Europe, present day Ukraine and especially Moldova are far poorer (Moldova is 6-7x poorer than Ukraine through, by GDP PPP per capita).
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
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Post 07 Dec 2011, 22:34
My mum and dad went to a vacation to High Tatras in the 80s...They told me that it was possible for ordinary Yugoslav students to sleep in the best hotels,eat the finest available foods with golden spoons and really behave like rich people do.
On the other hand several times i've heard how Czechoslovak tourists were usually very poor and ,for example,had to order just mineral water in cafes and such because they didn't have much money to spend...
Do you know more about this perhaps?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 08 Dec 2011, 10:58
Loz wrote:
My mum and dad went to a vacation to High Tatras in the 80s...They told me that it was possible for ordinary Yugoslav students to sleep in the best hotels,eat the finest available foods with golden spoons and really behave like rich people do.
On the other hand several times i've heard how Czechoslovak tourists were usually very poor and ,for example,had to order just mineral water in cafes and such because they didn't have much money to spend...
Do you know more about this perhaps?


That is due to the skewed exchange rate - the prices in Czechoslovakia were subsidized, the prices in Yugoslavia were not.

Yugoslavia in general had a lower GDP per capita than CSSR. You just abused the fact that goverment in CSSR subsidized its goods.

That is why Czechoslovak tourists had the reputation of carrying tons of tinned pattes and other canned food to countries like SFRY. On the other hand, prices in Hungary and Bulgaria were lower than in the CSSR, meaning people bought a lot of things.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Aug 2011, 22:59
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Post 08 Dec 2011, 12:05
Loz wrote:
My mum and dad went to a vacation to High Tatras in the 80s...They told me that it was possible for ordinary Yugoslav students to sleep in the best hotels,eat the finest available foods with golden spoons and really behave like rich people do.
On the other hand several times i've heard how Czechoslovak tourists were usually very poor and ,for example,had to order just mineral water in cafes and such because they didn't have much money to spend..

My parents used to travel to Czechoslovakia frequently in the 70s, 80s, and I remember listening to them when they were telling stories to their friends, how the Czechoslovaks were very friendly and offered nothing but the best of lodging and food for prices which were quite cheap. My parents used to take full suitcases of consumer products there to exchange them for some local delicacies, and Becherovka. Same thing in Hungary.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Jul 2011, 11:37
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Post 08 Dec 2011, 12:45
EdvardK wrote:
My parents used to travel to Czechoslovakia frequently in the 70s, 80s, and I remember listening to them when they were telling stories to their friends, how the Czechoslovaks were very friendly and offered nothing but the best of lodging and food for prices which were quite cheap. My parents used to take full suitcases of consumer products there to exchange them for some local delicacies, and Becherovka. Same thing in Hungary.


Yes, but we always liked Croatia. And this does not meant Czechoslovakia was in poverty. And how it is always that the ones talking about SFRY's prosperity are either Slovenians, Croats or Serbs, not say, Macedonians, Kosovan Albanians, Serbians from Eastern Serbia etc.? Because those parts of SFRY were somewhere between Bulgaria and Albania economically. Which consumer products do you mean btw?

Similiar stories were in Czechoslovakia about the USSR.

And we still like people from ex-SFRY countries, even through their countries are poorer than ours now,
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