Shin Dong-Hyuk is the only person born into a North Korean political prison to escape to the West. His story, told by Blaine Harden in Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West, is as much about food as it is about freedom. Eating corn and cabbage every day of his life, Shin dreamed of a full-belly beyond the fences of his work camp. Read my review @ City Journal.
North Korea is a straw man. I've heard fellow liberals criticize Somalia as a libertarian utopia, but I think both are unfair examples used to impugn a target ideology.
A very good example of a thriving socialist state is Denmark. I've yet to find a good example of a modern economic libertarian state. Russia after the fall of the USSR was the great Hillsdale College hope, but it failed miserably and devolved into a tyrannical, plutocratic oligarchy.
""We often think about happiness as trying to increase our joy, but it's also about decreasing our worry. So what you get for paying those high taxes is if you're a parent thinking about putting your child through school, you don't have to worry about it, because all education through college is free. In fact, college students ... draw a salary.
"You don't have to worry about health care. Government takes care of that. And you don't have to worry about: What happens when I get old? Will there be Social Security around? Danes don't have to worry about that, either.
A socialist, dysfunctional, sadistic hellhole, indeed.