This will be a very long post. Be warned.
Guys seriously. I live in a country that used to be a "socialist paradise" for 40 years.
HOW COMMUNIST POLAND LOOKED
Electricity was free, but you had 2-3 power outages a day usually taking 30 minutes to an hour. Housing was very cheap to pay, but you were allowed heating only for December, January and February and half of the time it wasn't provided even then. Water was free, but it wasn't properly cleaned or filtered outside of Warsaw, so people had to enjoy their yellow drink anywhere else, and of course on some weeks, again you had no water at all, without any explanation from the state.
People would go for weeks without washing and the national televison(there were only 2 tv channels, both state owned) would broadcast news stories claiming it was "discovered" that washing your hair "robs the hair of nutrients" and that it isn't healthy to wash your hair more than once every 3 months(my grandma still believes that shit). And since we are on the subject of television, till the the very late 80s all legally purchasable TVs were produced in the eastern bloc, usually the Soviet Union, and were black and white only. Color tv sets were illegal because "its radiation caused eye tumors". In reality of course, they were too costly to mass-produce for the eastern bloc and it had to be explained why people in the West had them, but people in the East weren't allowed to. I didn't see color television till 1992, when my famiIy purchased a color set, I was 7 years old. My grandpa refused to watch it till 1998-ish, to avoid getting cancer.
You were not allowed to carry a passport, all passports were state owned. If you wanted them to temporarily "grant" you, your own passport, to leave the country, you had to write a long paper explaining why you want to leave, for how long, and how it'll benefit the state. Also, you had to do it at least 6 months in advance. Then, for many months, you had to suck up to clerks and government officials, since who was granted a passport was completely arbitrary, best course of action was bribing them with cigarattes and vodka, however it sucked if they already had a steady supply(actual money wasn't worth much, because barely any wares were there). And of course your chances of getting it were higher, if you signed a deal to squeal on anybody who committed a crime. Not a bad thing you say? Ah, but back then listening to a foreign radio station, or posessing an item produced in the West was a crime(in fact, those crimes were what the government was most interested in). Of course you could try to sign the deal and not squeal on anybody, but if you had signed it and someone in your proximity committed a crime and it was found out and you didn't contribute to it being discovered, you were likely to land in jail, too.
Employment was guaranteed, unless you were a convicted criminal. Everything was government owned and there were no companies. Since employment was guaranteed, even if you did your job horribly, you didn't get fired. So most people did it half-assedly. In fact, it was unwise to do your job well, because your co-workers would consider you a suck-up and inform the government of you having done some crime to get you in a trial, so you would no longer work there.
Now, on the positive, almost everyone had food on the table, that's great, even if it was financed by foreign debt. BUT, that food was groats, potatoes, bread, cabbage and beans. Few shops carried any meat or candy(the candy tasted like shit compared to nowadays and was cheaply made, yet people still loved it cause it was so rare), and if a shop had it, there were long lines of 50+ people to get say, a sausage(I'm not kidding). Fruits were ridiculously rare, my Mom, by her own admission ate only 2 oranges prior to 1990, and she loves them.
I was 5 years old when communism crumbled here, so of course I only experienced and remember about 1/2 of this. But it's all confirmed by people who remember these days. Including my Grandma who is a hardcore commie and who explains all this with either "the government needed to protect us" or "dirty capitalist Jews were conspiring against us", but even someone as biased and delusional as she, admits that's how things were.
CRITICISM OF GLAH'S LINKED ARTICLE
Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion now frozen globally.
Ok I have to start with this, because this is either horrid lack of research, or blatant lying. Libya had huge amounts of debt(no one knows exactly how much, because Gaddafi's government didn't reveal such info), that were either granted later payment, like by Turkey and China in exchange for working contracts, or outright refused to get payed by Gaddafi starting from 2007 on. That was one of the reasons the Western powers were so keen on getting rid of him. So yes, officially they had no debt, but only because Gaddafi refused to acknowledge it.
In fact, the whole "evil Bulgarians infect our poor Libyans with HIV" stunt back in 2007, was to get rid of debt.
the Echo wrote:Isse Rabii Anshour, named by the National Transitional Council as Libya's new ambassador in Sofia, says that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov is welcome to go to Tripoli to negotiate the question of the huge amount of debt owed by Libya to Bulgaria that was written off as part of a 2007 deal to free the Bulgarian medics held by the Gaddafi regime.
source: http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/09/07/115 ... ebt-report
And $56.6 million debt is just the debt to Bulgaria, a really small and insignificant country.
There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
See communist Poland descripton.
Besides, the state needs to get money from somewhere, if everything is state owned and most services are free, then you either need high taxes for all citizens or foreign debt.
There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are stateowned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
So what happens, if someone can't pay back that loan even on 0% interest? Also, those banks need to be getting that money from somewhere, too. If they get it from oil that's very short-sighted since if most countries that import your oil, suddenly get it from somewhere else, you're screwed.
Also as much as almost everyone hates on multinational companies and banks these days, they are the main source of capital. If you make everything state-owned in your country, then they won't bother to invest in your country. Unless you are a huge growing market like China.
Home considered a human right in Libya Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi�s father has died while he, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
Oh come on, that's just blatant propaganda, there are pics of him living in villas. Might as well allow that poor "tent living" Mom of his a small house, too. :P
Libya Education and medical treatments are free in Libya
Cool, but a lot of countries have them free(which means financed by taxes of course) and both on a higher level, without having to resort to a Dictatorship.
Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
Implying that's thanks to Gaddafi. He ruled since the 60s, of course literacy would rise immensely. Tunisia is in the same region and has better stats.
Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms all for free.
We are in the middle of Alvin Toffler's 3rd wave, having more than 8-10% of citizens bother with farming is unwise. Supporting farmers is cool and all, but this specific idea encourages too many people to go into that branch of economy.
25% of Libyans have a university degree.
That's not a good thing. If so many people have a diploma, that implies either a lackluster examining system and/or it being corrupt. If too many people have a diploma than it won't tell the state/academic circles/your employee, whether you can actually do the job or not.
Rest of the article seems ok. But again, most of this is financed by being an oil importer and/or foreign debt, which is doable without a dictatorship.