Social Scientist. v 24, no. 278-79 (July-Aug 1996) p. 70.

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Changes in the World Economy and the Perspectives of the Eastern European Left^

For the countries of Eastern Europe the present neoliberal regimes essentially mean free market style open door politics and IMF-style transformation of their economies in order to make them capable^ at any cost, of servicing their foreign debts. To ask for "alternatives to neoliberalism" under these circumstances can mean two different (but not independent) things. The present type of Eastern European development results not only in the pauperization of the great majority of the populations, but is also an element* of the prolongation of the deep crisis within the capitalist world economy as a whole. An alternative to Eastern European neoliberalism—while eventually alleviating the social crisis within the countries—therefore could mean a contribution of the region or parts of the region to reducing, mitigating or overcoming the actual tensions, contradictions and crisis within the capitalist world system. On the other hand, the search for a way out of the present economic and social regime in Eastern Europe could, in the foreseeable future, result in a contribution of the region to the anticapitalist transformation of the world economy.


Theory, strategies, and practical politics of political forces oppositional to at least some aspects of the capitalist system, i.e. of the old and the new left, the reformist, revolutionary, anti-systemic (etc.) left could certainly contribute to developing both types of alternatives to neoliberalism in Eastern Europe. In order to make an assessment of the potential and the perspectives of the Eastern European left, with regard to both dimensions of change, we first have to analyse the relationship between progressive and left theory and

^Central European University Budapest.

**Paper for the Conference: "Europa del este y la izquierda hoy: hay alternativas a la

via neoliberal?" Fundacion de Investigaciones Marxistas Madrid 24-25th March, 1995.

Social Scientist, Vol. 24, Nos. 7-8, July-August 1996

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