The way I see it, if you were born into one of the Socialist Soviet Republics in 1960, you had five basic options:
1. Be a member of the proletariat, work in the Soviet machine, take what the social controllers give you.
2. Join the Party, become a social controller yourself.
3. Try to fight/overthrow the Party. You'd probably lose and get executed.
4. Mildly subvert the Party - be a black marketer or capitalist. I met a woman in Los Angeles whose family black marketed goods from West Germany into Poland, amazing woman and amazing family. Apparently they'd take defective West German products like women's pantyhose with runs in them and sell them to little kiosks for money... they were one of the wealthier families in Poland.
5. Try to escape to Britain, America, Australia, or anywhere else more free.
I think I'd try to escape. What would you do?
Yeah, sure ;)
Just that I'm telling story of my father here. Kind of a man, but too weak nevertheless. As soon as border restrictions were weakened in 1988 he went on to East Germany to work on grapewine farm (that was already after other attempts) & from the money earned bought several trash cars and then sold that in Poland. But this wasn't sustainable. Then the system fell off, but he already knew he has nothing much to do aboard, became enterpreneur in Poland. By the time of my teens he was burned out. Family haunted him as a duty, however he had numerous friends, so went on to spend his time with them. You know, not with me. That's something to think about planning family. Will you not flee to the 41st country in 15 years.
Let's posit the problem more specifically. You're born in 1960 in rular wasteland area, your parents are unschooled and it was a major stretch get out to the city, get half-decent education, and youre exhausted by day-to-day living. You have no extraordinary skill and are not independently wealthy and don't have one-upmanship chutzpah. Escape however was your dream all along, first to the city, then aboard. But you barely managed in the city. You studied hard to become valuable aboard, but you just don't cut it. You are ordinary.
Most escapees were either expedited at great expense by their families, were independently welathy, or were extraordinarily gifted.
On this coming Monday or Tuesday, I'll be asking the Director of Sales and Marketing at one of the most prestigious local businesses for $100,000. I have all manner of charts, research, data, and numbers showing why this is an exceptionally good idea that will have a fantastic ROI - and it is a good deal. But still, it's mildly terrifying to present in that sphere.
Part of what I'm going to do is go in and ask for a considerable sum of money, but I'm trying to build a different sort of relationship than most people would think. If they choose my company, we'll be producing lots of good work for high pay - but I'm trying to build something other an exchange-based relationship.
What's an exchange-based relationship? Over the last 10 years or so, researchers have identified two kinds of ways trade and interact and cooperate. The first way would be through "market norms" - this is where two people clearly agree to make an exchange, and deliver what they agreed to exchange, and the deal is concluded. The second way is through "social norms" - where you're looking out for each other's best interests.
Let's go over quickly what market/exchange norms look like and how they push out social norms - then I'll have some ideas and guidelines for your own life.
If you like digging into primary source papers, this one from 1993 by Clark and Mills is pretty good. If you're more into books, this was covered in Dan Arielly's book "Predictably Irrational."
Genre: science fiction
My name is Shaun McDaniels. I used to be a proud lieutenant in the US military, back when we had one. Now I am just one more prisoner in a concentration camp looking into the night, waiting for my last sunrise.
I am about to be executed for my participation in the greatest social crime ever committed in the US. Greater than slavery, greater than the mostly accidental genocide of the Native Americans, an atrocity perpetrated with malice and considerable forethought.
Sitting in my cell for the past year, I might even consider the entire event to have been psychologically created with this as the end result. As a prisoner I have a lot of time on my hands, conspiracy theories abound.