Now that the suffocating mortgage of communism has finally been lifted, opportunities for the democratic and socialist left in both East and West may have a second chance. Yet, by a curious twist of the zeitgeist many of our friends and co-thinkers on the left act as if it were they rather than the communists who had suffered a decisive defeat. They seem to believe that once totalitarian society has strangled itself in its own contradictions, market capitalism remains the only alternative to the defunct rule of the knout. But such views only testify to a failure of historical imagination. There are few situations in history in which only one course of development is bound to prevail.
At this juncture it would indeed seem likely that a market society will appeal to many men and women who are in search of new political ideas and political goals. But the love affair in the East and the West with the ideals of the classical economists is likely to be nasty, brutish, and short if, and this is admittedly a large if, alternative visions appear of the world and of human destiny....
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