The crowning achievement of state socialism was to take a nation of Germans
and make them poor. Even bearing that in mind, these photographs
comparing buildings in the old East Germany with how they look now are remarkable.
If there's a serious lesson to be learned here, it is this:
From the end of the war onwards the government had fixed rents in the GDR and in practical terms they remained constant -- at between 0.40 and 1.20 East German Marks per square meter. On average the estimated cost of restoring an old building in East Berlin was 75,000 Marks, the equivalent of 80 years' rent for a GDR citizen.
: the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.