Here’s Why Communism is Unviable

Mikayla O'Neill, Staff Photographer + Reporter

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Pictured are half empty shelves in a state owned shop in Havana, the capital of Cuba.

For comparison, here’s a picture of some stocked shelves in Costco. Communist countries are notorious for their problems with starvation, and it’s clear to see why.


A survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that roughly 50% of millennials would rather live in a communist or socialist country than in a capitalist democracy.

The idea that the number is anywhere above 0% is absolutely absurd, and here’s why.

Currently, there are four communist countries in the world; North Korea, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. None of the above provide living conditions suitable or preferable to those in the U.S.

The first country made miserable by communism is North Korea. Most people are aware that life in North Korea is… unfavorable, to say the least.

According to a KUNI report, half of North Korea’s population lives in “extreme poverty”. That’s 12 million people who eat little more than corn and kimchi. The average worker earns the equivalent of $2-3 per month. Many homes are heated by open fireplaces, and electricity is extremely sporadic, sometimes working for only a few hours per day.

But Kim Jong-un might be the only problem, right? Surely, communism must work somewhere.


Let’s see if we can find a good communist country in Cuba…

The potential earning power for working Cubans is extremely low- about $20 a month. Unfortunately, this number is average. The water in Cuba is usually dirty, so citizens tend to buy water bottles for their main source of hydration. Many families have no access to hot water. The ceilings of the houses are often very close to collapsing. The main food source is eggs- cheese, milk, and ice cream are considered delicacies.


Maybe Laos is better.

Except it’s not. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with an average annual income of $2,000. Roads are very uncommon; most people travel long distances by boats or ox carts. Life expectancy is only 50 for men and 53 for women. For comparison, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is nearly 79 years.

Because it was associated with upper-middle class, the government in Laos tried to ban blue jeans. Also, very few homes have bathrooms, so bathing is usually done in public.

Does that sound pleasant?


Let’s try China.

Infamously, the pollution in China is disgusting. The Hong Kong skyline can’t even be seen, so there’s a fake skyline made of paper for tourists so they can see through all of the smog. Some children drink from streams or rivers just to survive. But unfortunately, pollution is in almost all of the water, whether it be algae or trash. Pipes discharge an insane amount of waste water into the ocean. The Great Wall of China has plastic bottles scattered all around. The average person of middle school age in China spends about 13.8 hours per week just on homework. Does that sound like the kind of life any sane high school student would want to live?


The last country there is to prove that communism might work somewhere is Vietnam.

The minimum wage in Vietnam was recently raised to between $14-$18 per month. The average monthly salary for a Vietnamese worker is under $150 in most cities. Some of the highest paying jobs pay $500 a month. The tap water in Vietnam is not drinkable. There are so many new laws created that citizens often aren’t made aware of their meaning before yet another one is implemented. In the biggest cities, there is more wealth, but they tend to be capitalist.

Past communist countries still suffer from communism to this day.

Mrs. Larson used to live in Daugavpils, a city in southeastern Latvia.

“Some countries didn’t have a washing machine in the house, or if they did, it was really small,” she said. “The scars still run deep from communism. “No one would speak Stalin’s name too loudly, or you might have just disappeared.”

Bogdan Dyukarev (’20) used to live in Russia. “We didn’t have computers or video games. In our free time, we would play soccer, because that’s just what you did,” he said. He also said that his family faced heavy persecution for being Christian. “People who were Christian might go to court, and [the judge and jury] would dig up any mistakes they’ve made in their lives just to get them sent to jail. This only happened to Christians, and it happened because they were Christians.”

So, did we find a good communist country?


But do we live in a capitalist country, where people with a high school diploma and no special skills earn an average of $2,500 a month? Where someone can get a high level degree in the medical field and earn over $50,000 a month? Where citizens have freedom to make their own choices and use their potential to become wealthy?



Mikayla O’Neill
In red are currently communist countries, and in green are previously communist countries.





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About the Contributor
Mikayla O'Neill, Staff Reporter + Photographer

Mikayla O'Neill is a sophomore at Arlington High School. She plays the tenor saxophone for On Hold, a.k.a. Jazz I, and Symphonic Band. In the future, she...

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