If you’ve spent even a short stay in the former communist countries of Europe, you’ll recoignise the issues discussed in this article.
The following paragraphs do a fantastic job at summarising the problem and the highlighted sentence is pure genius…
“It’s a familiar picture to anyone from post-communist Europe: Preoccupied with their new social roles, power, and prestige, the new elites, made up in significant part of erstwhile communists, feel scant concern for the rights and political representation of the underrepresented and underprivileged.
Labor is not the only force to have lost much during the upheavals and transformations in Eastern Europe. The entire political culture of these societies is a loser. A compelling example is seen in the rise of populism in the region over the past five years. Not that we should be surprised by this, for populism is filling the intellectual vacuum and the political and moral emptiness of post-communism.
Was there any alternative? Could it have been possible to open economies to private capital while keeping the wild and semi-criminal capitalists at bay? For the variety of capitalism that prevails in much of the region now is far from politically innocent or neutral. Ungrounded in civil society and unsupportive of it, the child of privatization remains to be reconciled with the logic of democratic politics and political pluralism. If they wish to soften the further consequences, the elites of Eastern Europe will have to reorient capital’s allegiance from serving the political power structures to acting for the benefit of civil society.”
Whilst the article might seem like patronising lecture from so-called old/established capitalists, it’s not wrong. The problems raised are very real and painfully obvious when you’re there.
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