I grew up in one of the most progressive societies in the history of humanity. The gap between the rich and poor was tiny compared to the current gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ we find across much of the West. Access to education was universal and students were paid to study and offered free accommodation. Healthcare was available to all and free at the point of use. Racial tensions were non-existent, with hundreds of different ethnic groups living side by side in harmony under the mantra of ‘Friendship of the Peoples.’ Women’s equality was at the very heart of Government policy. According to the prevailing ideology “all forms of inequality were to be erased through the abolition of class structures and the shaping of an egalitarian society based on the fair distribution of resources among the people.”
As I said, go read it all, but here is a key part that details the real cost of utopian equality
Unfortunately, despite these facts and the lofty ideals from which they were derived, the reality of life in the Soviet Union was rather different.
Low levels of wealth and income inequality were achieved by making everyone poor and restricting access to basic goods such as food, domestic appliances, and basic clothing. The ’emancipated’ women of the USSR were denied the evil fruits of misogynistic Western civilisation such as tampons, washing machines, and the ability to feed their children. And while healthcare provision was universal, it was also universally poor and entirely corrupt. Only people with influence, connections, and the ability to pay bribes could actually obtain good treatment.
University places which paid students to study were subject to the same corruption with examiners able to solicit bribes and favours. In exchange for an education, you forfeited the right to a future career of your own choosing—instead, you would be allocated a job by the state system, often in a completely different part of the country.
The temporary lull in ethnic and religious strife was achieved through systematic murder, forced starvation, mass deportation, imprisonment, and ruthless ethnic cleansing by an oppressive police state to keep everyone in check. At least 50 million people were killed or sent to concentration camps to create this ‘peaceful’ society, to say nothing of millions who had their property seized ‘for the benefit of society.’ These enemies of the state included my great-grandparents who met in a Soviet concentration camp for political prisoners. Every morning at their camp, three people would be picked out at random from the general population of the camp and thrown into the icy waters of the lake to freeze and drown in full view of the other prisoners to ‘keep things under control.’ And the moment the regime was no longer able to keep a lid on this volatile melting pot, it exploded into horrific ethnic conflicts, which erupted all over the former Soviet empire and resulted in the deaths of millions of people.
Again, go read it all