Abstract

Using Latin America for comparison, examines the factors why economic populism has not yet emerged in Eastern Europe. It is contended that while a demagogic populism has surfaced, economic policy has remained within the neoliberal mainstream. The reasons for populism's development in Latin America, but not in Eastern Europe, include the structural differences in postcommunist Eastern Europe, including a more balanced income distribution, a stronger economic interconnection with the export sectors, & an unprecedented recession. Also cited are the existing populist-like features of communist central planning including: an appeal to organized labor, import substitution policies aimed at regional autarchy, a preference for the public over the private sector, & an emphasis on growth & income redistribution. It is consequently argued that Eastern Europe could not afford economic populism after 1990 because of macroeconomic conditions. M. Greenberg