It seems my comment is late, but I drop it anyway. The author doesn’t know subject very deep. I’m from East Germany and I can’t agree with following statements:
1. “a poor telecommunication system” – it’s ridiculous, because GDR had most advanced cinema studio DEFA. Its movies are quite popular even now.
2. “wretched cars” – have you ever tried to ride such car, or it’s just only your opinion, based on photos?
3. “labour ignorant of computers” – People, remember – we are talking about 90’s. In the whole world computers weren’t smart.
Compared to West Germany, East Germany was superior on several parameters, but this is not the subject of discussion. We seek difference between GDR and DPRK. Here I can formulate this difference, based on historical point of view: Border between DPRK and South Korea is totally artificial, while border between GDR and West Germany has been built up on old border existing 1000 years ago between slavic and saxon tribes. Remember this, when “West” media throw pieces of crap on socialist countries.