Prospects for Liberal Democracy
and a Market Economy
The outlook for a liberal democracy and a market economy is certain to vary from country to country in Eastern Europe. This comes as no surprise to anyone, since everybody concerned with the region's postcommunist systemic change expected inconsistency. As regards the countries examined in this book, prospects for a sustainable, enduring democracy and a prosperous economy functioning on market principles progress steadily as one moves from east to west; that is, they are brighter for Poland in comparison to Russia, and for the Czech Republic in comparison to Poland. This is to argue, however, not that the end results will definitely be different for each country but that the chances each country has of obtaining its goals are unequal.
With regard to the foreseeable future, one can talk about certain trends or tendencies that may continue for some time, but obviously not in perpetuity. Social life, unlike science, is not governed by laws or tenets that are always valid, just waiting to be discovered and utilized thereafter to attain some envisaged aims. The future will thus forever remain uncertain, like early weather forecasts. The likelihood that a weather forecast is correct goes up as our knowledge about the weather and its past patterns increases. A similar situation prevails in social life, including politics and economics.
Due to this, the past matters and usually has a great impact on the immediate future. It follows that the past can and should be used as an