You can argue until you're blue in the face, but sometimes a picture is worth much more than a thousand words. These photos are a stunning punch-in-the-gut example to people on the left who attack consumerism and capitalism; THIS is the difference that economic systems make.
The work is by photographer Stefan Koppelkamm and was featured in an article in Der Speigel called A Massive Facelift for Eastern Germany. The before pictures show the scenery from the communist days and were taken in the early 1990s. The after pictures are from today, after unification.
From the article:
Although fascinated by his time travelling, Koppelkamm realized in the early 1990s that no one but him was interested in the sights of the unspoilt East. Looked at in the cold light of day, his photos depict buildings with gray facades, broken windows, tattered blinds and bricked-up entrances. In front, temporary scaffolding protects pedestrians and parked cars from falling bricks and bits of masonry.
The widespread decay of East German buildings in the 1980s was clearly visible. Hardly anyone wanted to live in the gray buildings with moldy entranceways, where when it rained the water would pour out of the broken drain pipes and pummel against the outside wall. No one wanted apartments without a functioning bathroom, with coal heating and damp in the walls. People preferred the large residential complexes, which despite being rather bleak and cramped, were at least solid and came equipped with "full comfort," as it was known in the GDR -- central heating and a hot water supply.
Go look at the whole stunning gallery.
All photos copyright Stefan Koppelkamm.