Abstract

What is attempted in the East is catching up with the West from a recent position of worse-than-Latin-American economic backwardness. Until now, populations that were sentenced to political patience by the logic of poor democracies have reluctantly backed this enormous effort. Central and Eastern Europe's post-socialist path is characterized by an increasingly discredited ideology of a return to Europe and a non-European combination of substitute institutions of development: radical opening towards the world economy, damaged institutions of labor representation, eroded state capacity, and often strong private and foreign dominance in the financial and other strategic sectors. There is a chance for a few countries to succeed. Yet various development traps may be more likely in the end than a "Great Spurt" in the Gerschenkronian sense.