Postcommunism: Four Perspectives

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Michael Mandelbaum
Council on Foreign Relations, 1996 - Political Science - 208 pages
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How have the 27 countries that emerged from communist rule between 1989 and 1992 fared since then? This book offers distinctive perspectives, by four leading students of politics, on the single most important social, political, and economic development of the last decade of the twentieth century. Stephen Holmes, of the University of Chicago, emphasizes the importance of state-building. He interprets the pathologies of post-communism as being rooted in the weakness of governments across post-communist Eurasia. Lord Skidelsky, of Great Britain's Social Market Foundation, sees the collapse of communism and its aftermath as part of the worldwide struggle to reduce the size of the state. John Mueller, of the University of Rochester, writes that the post-communist transition to capitalism and democracy, as these terms are properly understood, is already complete. Charles Gati, of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, argues the contrary: not only is democracy not firmly established in most of the countries from Berlin to Vladivostok, but its prospects in many of them are poor. In his introduction, Michael Mandelbaum offers a comparative assessment of the different countries that make up the world of post-communism.

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Page 160 - The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates, that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible.
Page 178 - On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied or not at all satisfied with the way democracy works (in your country)?
Page 159 - ... cheat them; but that if they sent a child to their shops for anything, they were as well used as if they had come themselves; the lives and conversation of Friends did preach, and reached to the witness of God in the people.
Page 137 - Poor fool ! Not to know that the most difficult thing in life is to make money dishonestly ! not to know that our prisons are full of men who attempted to follow this advice ; not to understand that no man can be dishonest without soon being found out, and that when his lack of principle is discovered, nearly every avenue to success is closed against him forever. The public very properly shun all whose integrity is doubted.
Page 161 - The universal reign of absolute unscrupulousness in the pursuit of selfish interests by the making of money has been a specific characteristic of precisely those countries whose bourgeois-capitalistic development, measured according to Occidental standards, has remained backward.
Page 158 - If something comes up, you get the other man on the telephone and deal with the problem. You don't read legalistic contract clauses at each other if you ever want to do business again. One doesn't run to lawyers if he wants to stay in business because one must behave decently.
Page 87 - A Government can live by this means when it can live by no other. It is the form of taxation which the public finds hardest to evade and even the weakest Government can enforce, when it can enforce nothing else.
Page 154 - Samuel A. Stouffer, Communism, Conformity, and Civil Liberties (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955), ch. 2. 20. Herbert McClosky, "Consensus and Ideology in American Politics," American Political Science Review 58 (June 1964): 371.
Page 109 - ... good government in Italy is a by-product of singing groups and soccer clubs.
Page 166 - A state of mind such as that expressed in the passages we have quoted from Franklin, and which called forth the applause of a whole people, would both in ancient times and in the Middle Ages have been proscribed as the lowest sort of avarice and as an attitude entirely lacking in self-respect.

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About the author (1996)

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Project on East-West Relations for the Council on Foreign Relations. Mandelbaum has taught at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the U.S. Naval Academy. His book, The New Russian Foreign Policy, explores Russia's relations with the rest of the world after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Dawn of Peace in Europe outlines Europe in the post-cold-war era. His title with Thomas L. Friedman, That Used To Be Us, made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012.