Eastern Europe on a Road Toward Radical Change
The former Soviet Union and the postcommunist Central and Eastern European countries today have a historical opportunity to adopt democracy and to achieve an efficient market economy that may help lead their populations to material wealth. They also have a historical opportunity to catch up with the western part of Europe which attained great economic success and stable democracies after the Second World War. Western Europe is considered one of the most dynamic economic areas in the world, and the European Community's integration plans promise even more spectacular economic gains in the future. As is well known democratization and the market economy involve decentralization, devolution and competition. Democracy decentralizes and devolves political power among competing parties, groups, candidates and voters, whereas the market economic order decentralizes and devolves economic power among competing producers and competing consumers.
The Eastern European countries achieved a modest record of democratic order and market economy before World War II. The