You sell people you don't want (via):
East Germany's economy was in free fall. Many skilled workers and intellectuals had fled and the Soviet Union was stripping the country of its resources. By 1964 the fiscal situation had become so dire that the authorities developed a scheme to sell political prisoners to West Germany. They called it haeftlingsfreikauf.
"Between 1964 and 1989 some 33,755 political prisoners and 250,000 of their relatives were sold to West Germany, for a sum totalling 3.5bn Deutschmarks," says historian and author, Andreas Apelt.
"Both sides had an interest in the business - the GDR because it needed Western currency and the West because it wanted to save people from the inhumane prisons of the GDR."
Prisoners were also traded for commodities such as coffee, copper and oil.
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, the government has decreed that folk will have a merry, price-controlled Christmas (via):
The doors opened on Monday, November 3, at 5 a.m. local time, and more than 600 people entered the store to shop at government-issued prices. Military officers monitored the sales, limiting customers to three items per person, and only one item of each kind.
Customers complained about the store’s lack of inventory, especially the shortage of popular dolls. By Wednesday, all Barbie dolls and Max Steel toys sold at the regulated price were sold out in all eight General Import stores.