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It seems rather sad that just as world events lay more questions on the neoliberal mythos, few of the neoliberals in Central and Eastern Europe seem prepared to question their assumptions.

By anecdote (i.e. people I've known) it seems to me that a lot of the ardent neoliberals are those who had some good resources when the old regime fell. A few of those, the resource was indeed talent, but for more it was education and for more still it was education, plus links with the West and for more still success found a home in those with a bit of talent, a good education, good links with the West and contacts with sources of capital in the West.

Thus, the neoliberals are often not the largest party, or the largest faction in any centre-right coalition, but they are often the most well resourced and like neoliberals everywhere they attribute the success of their peers to "individual virtue" rather than any of the factors I point out. As such they are psychologically bound to economic philosophies which allow "people like them" to prosper. All the more so because the old system so clearly held them back.

I think it's that contrast between the old system and their current prosperity that makes them so certain that it is only restrictions that are a problem...

Also, of course, many of the Central and Eastern European countries specialised in very high powered development of mathematical skills. As a result a certain kind of mathematical mindset is rife, which I have the suspicion is very vulnerable to the claims of modern economics. The equations look very beautiful...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Oct 27th, 2008 at 07:11:53 AM EST
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