Astonishing how well the east german economy worked for nearly 50 years if you consider this, hm ... lying to yourself system?
I don't know, I drove through portions of former East Germany not too many years after unification, and from what I saw, it worked *exactly* as well as you'd expect. The difference between west and east was stark and startling. In the west, there were occasional items in need of maintenance and modernization, just as you'll find anywhere, but by and large everything was well-built, well-maintained... and cheerful. The last bit is hard to explain, but it was more than just the use of bright colors on stores and signs, it was just an overall feeling of energy and exuberance. In contrast, nearly everything in the east was poorly-built, in need of maintenance, and drab. The roads were narrow, rough and full of holes. The bridges were rickety-looking and clearly needed maintenance. Many, many of the buildings had sagging rooflines, especially the farmhouses and barns. Much was unpainted, rusting steel, or unpainted, drying and spitting wood and what was painted was clearly painted only to make it last longer because it was all gray and black.
It strikes me that that's *exactly* what I'd expect a culture that habitually pretends to work to fool the planners to produce. No energy, no motivation, no reason to innovate.
From what I understand, it has been a huge burden on western Germany to drag their eastern fellows into the 21st century. The other thing I noticed when driving through east Germany, both that first time and even more a few years later, was that it seemed like they were rebuilding the entire country at once. And I know my west German friends grumbled often about the taxes for reconstruction, though they seemed generally to think that it was a price worth paying.