2019

Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce Trump?

The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. It was one of the few unambiguously joyous moments in modern history. This popular, nonviolent explosion of dissent effectively toppled East Germany’s despotic regime. And it signaled, if only symbolically, the end of the Cold War that had divided Europe for nearly half a century. Thirty years later,… Continue reading Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce Trump?

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2015

Could the Yugoslav Wars Have Been Avoided?

When I traveled through Yugoslavia in 1990, a number of people confessed their fears to me. They were worried about the rise of nationalism, particularly in Serbia with Slobodan Milosevic. They were concerned about the economic situation – the high level of national debt, the overall stagnation, the persistent gap between the more prosperous northern… Continue reading Could the Yugoslav Wars Have Been Avoided?

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2014

The Costs of Reunification

Here’s a condensed version of what happened in Germany in 1989-90. The Germans in the East rose up against their authoritarian regime because they wanted freedom. Eventually they also got the German deutschmark and reunification. The cost of that economic and political reunification was shouldered almost entirely by West Germans while the benefits flowed mostly… Continue reading The Costs of Reunification

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2013

Yugoslavia Could Have Been a Leader

In the early 1980s, the citizens of Yugoslavia enjoyed a distinct comparative advantage over their counterparts in East-Central Europe. Yugoslavia’s per capita GDP was the best in the region. True, $3,230 might not sound like a lot of money, but the closest competition in 1982 was Czechoslovakia at $2,980. By comparison, Poland’s was only $1,540… Continue reading Yugoslavia Could Have Been a Leader

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