What was not fully understood at the time was that East Germany\’s whole economy was value-subtracting and cost-unconscious.
Socialism in another sentence:
The final output was worth less than the sum of the inputs.*
Socialism in a third sentence:
The Trabant operation was value-subtracting: valuable material, labor, and capital inputs went in at one end; shabby Trabies came out at the other, their bodies made from compacted trash.
* Something which, amazingly, means that the contribution of the Trabant plant to GDP was negative. Another one in the eye for the thought that rising GDP means increased consumption of resources. If a plant using resources has a negative contribution then you would actually have a rise in GDP by closing the plant and not using the resources at all!