Economic and Political Prospects in Eastern Germany

Economic and Political Prospects in Eastern Germany

As the waves of popular revolution swept across Eastern Europe in 1989, great hopes were aroused for the future of the East European nations. The prevailing view in the West was that, once liberated from the oppressive communist yoke, these countries could and would soon develop into economically dynamic democratic market-capitalist societies. Some doubts remained about Romania and Bulgaria; but surely East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary could be counted upon to join the international capitalist order.

On the left there was a quite different hope. It appeared to many of us that workers, students, and intellectuals, having played a prominent role in most of the revolutionary movements of the 1980s, might be able to combine a new democratic politics with the ideological legacy of socialist commitment to egalitarianism and economic security in constructing a democratic socialist order that would avoid the worst features of both bureaucratic collectivism and market capitalism. One year later, the

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