December 20, 2023

Do We Need a Dictator to Just Step in and Fix Things?

Dictatorship does not lead to prosperity for the average citizen.

For example, under Mussolini (Italy 1925 - 1945), both imports and exports decreased, and unemployment increased.

Mussolini established bureaucracies and appointed many officials, but very little was ever accomplished. He was mostly concerned with making sure the newspapers reported what he wanted them to say. There were food shortages throughout the country. The national debt skyrocketed. Mussolini's spending on infrastructure and public works was extravagant. Banks and big corporations were given government support. Interest rates went up. In many cases, the rich got richer, but in the meantime, workers got poorer.

Italy was hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Eventually, the state took over ownership of the banks and most industries. Mussolini focused on increasing his own political power, rather than providing assistance to citizens.

Mussolini was eventually killed by an angry mob.

Nicolae Ceaușescu (Romania 1967-1989) used a secret police force for mass surveillance and suppression of civil rights. He controlled the media.

In an attempt to increase the population, he outlawed all abortions and contraception. This led to the proliferation of overcrowded, dirty orphanages; many neglected and abused children from these institutions had lifelong physical and mental health problems. Thousands of women died from illegal abortions.

Ceaușescu's policy of moving from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy seemed successful at first, but led to unemployment, food shortages, and an energy crisis. Without electricity, people died of the cold in their homes. Prices were high while wages were low. Ceaușescu spent money on big projects and personal luxuries while citizens were freezing and starving.

When anti-government protests began, he ordered the military to fire upon protesters, causing many injuries and deaths. Violent protests spread across the country, and the military defected. Ceaușescu and his wife tried to flee, but they were captured, tried, convicted, and executed. The country was left with a very weak economy that still has not recovered. @realrkwest

Under Hitler (Germany 1933-1945), hourly wages were very low, while most people worked more hours, creating the illusion that individual income had increased.

Germany increased military spending until it became the majority of the economy. Hitler believed that war was the best way for a country to make progress. Prisoners of war and inmates from concentration camps were used as slave labor to support corporations. By 1944, slave labor made up 1/4 of the work force. Even so, unemployment was low. The government used price controls to avoid inflation, and also introduced wage and rent controls.

The military buildup was financed largely through deficit spending. The national debt was enormous. Industries that had been state-owned were privatized, yet subjected to a great deal of government control. Business leaders were expected to fund the Nazi party, and in return, benefited from policies that froze wages and provided slave labor. Profits for big businesses increased, and tax policies were designed to benefit wealthy people. Real wages decreased substantially. Workers could not strike, and could not change jobs without the current employer's consent.

During World War II, imports were harder to get. Rationing was implemented. The government took the property of wealthy Jews and plundered whatever it could in the countries it invaded. Wartime destruction and the British blockade led to the collapse of supply chains. People in occupied territories were used as slave labor, and their children were killed. As the war progressed, Allied bombs destroyed factories and cities. There were catastrophic food and fuel shortages. As defeat loomed, Hitler committed suicide.

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