How can Communism be explained to a ten year old? by @balajivis
Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Your grandfather comes from a small town called Gori. It was an ordinary town with its own share of pain and pleasure. Some were rich and some were poor.
Your grandfather owned a farm and a factory. He was the richest guy in town and a somewhat compassionate man. One day, a smart, young man named Joe came to him. The young man was from Vienna and looked erudite.
The young man helped your grandfather understand the level of poverty in the town. Joe also convinced that your grandfather should do something about it. Since we had such a big home, we rented a room in that for free to Joe and his two friends. We cooked them hot food everyday.
After a few months, he brought a few of his other poor friends to home. These people had lost their homes to a snowstorm and needed temporary housing. Since there were not enough rooms, your grandfather asked me and all your uncles & aunts to share the same room.
After a few more months, Joe convinced that the inequality in the house was terrible. The concept of having maids and workers were considered backward. We were all asked to work together as a common group to take care of the home and the farm. The kids of the poor people worked shoulder-shoulder with us. He called that Communism. It had a lot of ring of egalitarian concepts. It felt logical and fun as we sang and danced.
A year passed.
Joe came up with a new idea that ownership of things is a bad thing. After all, everything was got from the society around us. That means I had to share my clothes, bicycle, pens and books with the other kids in the house.
My grandfather and rest of family started getting uncomfortable at this. But, we didn't want to disappoint Joe.
My family went for summer vacation to Europe. When we returned, we had a surprise waiting.
Joe had brought a hundred more poor people into the home. All our stuff was moved into one room. Joe said that an average area enjoyed by a person in that village was just 20 sq. ft. Since, we had 10 members in the family we were given a 250 sq. ft room.
People were swarming the mansion and occupied every corner. There was food strewn all over the carpet. The place was a complete mess.
Joe had already taken over your grandfather's study. Joe didn't make a request for any of this. We were just informed. Your grandfather was furious and confronted Joe in the big study. That was the last we heard of your grandfather. Joe's approach was completely changed.
Joe made the announcement that each person would work 14 hours a day until all the poverty is solved. All sorts of private ownership were banned. I would get caned if I even kept a candy in my pocket. I was also made to feel guilty of all the pleasures I got. Soon, a committee was setup to determine what is pleasurable to whom. The TV at home and my favorite bike were taken away.
We kept sinking low and low that the ground floor was completely destroyed. There was stinking smell of toilet. The carpet has now completely gone and the walls had come off.
We had now the Communist wonderland in the village. Although everyone was still poor, there was no more rich either. The only one to enjoy all the wealth was Joe who now wore the luxury clothes that your grandfather had. He took up the whole of the first floor. He would shoot anyone who climbed the stairs without his permission. We didn't know what happened to his two friends who joined him at the start.
It took a lot of planning to escape from that place. I left all my family and our belongings and was the only one in the family to survive.
Communism is a concept that looks very attractive at the beginning until it eats you off completely. Once you are gullible enough to let that idea enter your door, you will ruin everything you cherish.
This story is loosely based on the Nobel winning work ofand among the greatest novels of all time , along with the biographies of Joseph Stalin and Vladmir Lenin.
As an aside, don't give a 10 year old easy answers on such tough questions. Simple answer will most likely be wrong. Pique their interest and help them ask the right questions.