2016

2015

The Three Mistakes of Transition

Start with a failing economy. Throw in a team of inexperienced politicians, people in fact who had spent their careers deliberately avoiding official politics. Add a population with the highest possible expectations. And, as a wild card, introduce an international community that was not offering very much in the way of financial assistance. This was… Continue reading The Three Mistakes of Transition

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2014

Piketty in Elysium

At the beginning of last summer’s blockbuster film Elysium, three rogue shuttles from Earth approach a space station that houses a super-rich enclave. It’s the ultimate offshore gated community, where the inhabitants possess magical machines that rid them of disease so that they can practically live forever. The shuttles, meanwhile, contain the poor, the sick, “the… Continue reading Piketty in Elysium

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Managing the Economic Transition

For most countries in East-Central Europe, capitalism didn’t arrive overnight in 1989 or 1990. Even in the more controlled environments like Romania, people could get a taste of capitalism by buying or trading on the black market. Hungary, on the other hand, was far ahead of its neighbors in this respect. It had been experimenting… Continue reading Managing the Economic Transition

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Building a New Economy

At the beginning of the changes in 1989 in East-Central Europe, civil society activists were very interested in alternative approaches to economic development. They’d seen the failures of Soviet-style Communism up close, and they didn’t want to import the worst kind of McDonalds-style capitalism. In 1990, when I visited East German pastor and dissident Wolfgang… Continue reading Building a New Economy

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