Theodore Dalrymple writes a moving account of visiting, 25 years ago, Pyongyang Department Store Number 1.
But this is no joke, and the humiliation it visits upon the people who take part in it, far from being a drawback, is an essential benefit to the power; for slaves who must participate in their own enslavement by signalling to others the happiness of their condition are so humiliated that they are unlikely to rebel.
Link via Ed Driscoll, posting at Instapundit.
Very much related: Glenn Reynolds briefly describes why "Free markets automatically create and transmit negative information, while socialism hides it."
. . . markets deliver the bad news whether you want to hear it or not, but delivering the bad news is not a sign of failure, it is a characteristic of systems that work. When you stub your toe, the neurons in between your foot and your head don’t try to figure out ways not to send the news to your brain. If they did, you’d trip a lot more often. Likewise, in a market, bad decisions show up pretty rapidly: Build a car that nobody wants, and you’re stuck with a bunch of expensive unsold cars; invest in new technologies that don’t work, and you lose a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. These painful consequences mean that people are pretty careful in their investments, at least so long as they’re investing their own money.
Bureaucrats in government do the opposite, trying to keep their bosses from discovering their mistakes.
And Glenn links to this with the wisecrack, "The story of socialism in one Bernie Sanders T-Shirt".