John Van Oudenaren
I would like to focus on the analogy between current or proposed aid efforts for Eastern Europe and the Marshall Plan, which even a rather skeptical Nick Eberstadt has characterized as a success. In doing so, I would like to broaden the discussion beyond the details of the plan itself and to look at the general question of West European recovery from World War II.
The Marshall Plan is often invoked by politicians and op-ed writers in discussions of East European recovery, and the comparison is frequently dismissed as misleading and irrelevant. The argument is made that Western Europe's recovery from wartime devastation is not really comparable to the task facing Eastern Europe, which involves questions of institutional maladaptation and the unprecedented problems of transition from socialism to market economy. My own view is that there are certain parallels between the two situations,