The chapters in this book contribute greatly to the growing volume of material on privatization as it is defined and implemented in different countries. Together they crystallize the fact that privatization is operationally defined by historical, political, social, and economic events, as well as dearly held values that are unique to each country. Thus, the implementation of privatization and the meaning that drives it are by no means universal, though there is some consensus regarding general directions. In Western countries, privatization is often viewed as a corrective action for governmental intervention, mandating the return of all or a portion of financing, production and/or distribution, and regulation of goods and services to market forces. This meaning evolved or was adopted, doubtless without full appreciation of the complexities involved when the system was transitioning, both ideally and operationally, from an essentially central system to an essentially market structure. Belief in the legitimacy and legality of private property, in the ability to own and dispose of property, and in the protection of this right by the state is a key element among a comprehensive set of expectations that serve as a basis for developing and expanding a society's productive capacities through restructuring. At some point, theoretical models and ideals must confront reality. Consequences stemming from the absence of a history of ownership and of the existence of the economic and political privileges that ownership conveys to individuals or corporations must inevitably be dealt with. When romanticized views of a new social relationship do not work as imagined, or when everyone does not or can not become an owner or feel gratification from enhanced socioeconomic status, widespread, aggregated disappointment can be demoralizing.
Although all Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are transitioning from central to market systems, the experiences are quite varied along socio-