2013

State v. Market

The last century has witnessed an enormous tug-of-war between the state and the market. One hundred years ago, coming out of World War I, three successive Republican administrations in the United States embraced the laissez-faire principle of limited government involvement in the market, a view that found considerable resonance among classical liberal economists and politicians… Continue reading State v. Market

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A Tale of Two Reforms

Slovenia and Bulgaria are, respectively, the best-case scenario and the cautionary example of “transition” states. Both have struggled to transform communist-era economic and political structures. Both are now members of the European Union and NATO. But their economic and political realities place them practically on different planets. Slovenia has a per capita GDP of $29,000… Continue reading A Tale of Two Reforms

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The Two Europes

The subtitle of Benjamin Disraeli’s novel Sybil, about Britain of the mid-19th century, refers to the “two nations” of rich and the poor. The gap between these two halves of society was a central preoccupation of social reformers during the Industrial Revolution. Nor has this divide between rich and poor in Europe gone away, despite… Continue reading The Two Europes

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Where Bulgaria Went Wrong

Bulgarians can talk at great length about what went wrong in 1989-90 and why the country didn’t immediately become economically successful and politically liberal after the end of the Cold War. Some will tell you that the politicians didn’t embrace the Western model quickly or thoroughly enough. Others will wax conspiratorial about secret Communist Party… Continue reading Where Bulgaria Went Wrong

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2012

The Oracle of Belgrade

When I sat down with Sonja Licht in Belgrade in 1990, it was like visiting the Oracle at Delphi. And her predictions of the future were not bright at all. I’d met Sonja earlier that year through the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA), which she would eventually co-chair with British activist and academic Mary Kaldor.  HCA was… Continue reading The Oracle of Belgrade

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