From Failed Communism to Underdeveloped Capitalism: Transformation of Eastern Europe, the Post-Soviet Union, and China

From Failed Communism to Underdeveloped Capitalism: Transformation of Eastern Europe, the Post-Soviet Union, and China

From Failed Communism to Underdeveloped Capitalism: Transformation of Eastern Europe, the Post-Soviet Union, and China

From Failed Communism to Underdeveloped Capitalism: Transformation of Eastern Europe, the Post-Soviet Union, and China

Synopsis

This text presents an analysis of the sources and general features of the current political and economic situation in the reforming countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China.

Excerpt

A social order whose stability had been its most admired characteristic collapsed without a war or resistance. Soviet-style socialism is no more. A nontraditional road to capitalism is being paved. Instead of leading from feudal socage through the early manufacture plants, this road originated with state-owned economies whose declared primary objective was equality. Recent developments make an excellent reason for this economist, who studied the Soviet system for many years, to investigate the sources of the implosion and the prospects for the future.

We shall explore several essential questions. We shall discuss the relationship between the velvet revolutions in the outer ring of the Soviet empire and the collapse of the empire itself under its own weight. We shall investigate why the euphoria of the emergence has been followed by apathy and discontent. Did this have to be?

The blurry outlines of the system that was to take the place of the ancien régime and the various roads to it were defined variously as: "as quickly as possible, back to capitalism" (by Jozsef Antall of Hungary), "market economy without any buts" (according to Vaclav Klaus of the then-Czechoslovakia), and "back to civilization" (according to Boris Yeltsin of Russia). These "programs" were not easy to realize. The load-bearing layer of the bourgeois revolutions, the layer of private entrepreneurs, had been destroyed and is not easy to reconstitute. The lofty ideals of the Enlightenment, in decline in the West, were of no help to the recent revolutionaries. The revolutions in Eastern and . . .

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