Economic Democracy in Slovenia:
The Impact of Political and Economic
Changes in the Process of Transition
Political freedom is in itself fictitious. Man who lives six if not seven days per week in economic subordination does not become free only by filling the ballot paper every five years. If freedom is to have a meaning to a man it has to include industrial freedom.
-- Erich Fromm
The Sane Society
Political changes during the 1980s and 1990s in Eastern Europe impressed the world. Communist autocracies were swiftly defeated, yielding to new, multiparty democracies. Changes in the economies of the former socialist bloc were neither so fast and successful nor so unanimously supported as political changes, however. It has been generally accepted that a transition to market economies based on private ownership is essential, but the exact mode of transformation has not been fully decided. Privatization has been seen as one of the most important elements of economic reconstruction in transitional societies. Different concepts of changes in ownership relations were proposed and implemented in the aftermath of communism's demise. The scope of change makes this process unique, and the absence of any tested model of such a massive, global transformation makes future consequences difficult to predict. While theoreticians search for a consensus on definitions of what was and what should be, practitioners have "created history" in a rough sea of different and conflictual political interests.