25 Years After Communism Are These Countries Better Off?

A nearly empty meat store in Poland in the 1980s. (Public Domain)
A nearly empty meat store in Poland in the 1980s. (Public Domain)

What ever happened to all the states from the Eastern Bloc or those regions that were a part of the Soviet Union?

Are they better off now 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall?

A new article (listen: here) by Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Triesman published by Foreign Affairs sheds light on the East 25 years after the fall of communism.

Below are some factoids from their piece:

  • If you lived in Poland in 1980 you had to wait over 30 years to get an apartment
  • Present day Lithuania, Poland, and Slovenia have higher rates of car ownership than the UK
  • Medical researchers report that in the past 25 years Eastern Europe has had ‘probably the most rapid decrease in coronary heart disease ever observed’
  • Post-communist states in the East are currently more market friendly than the rest of the world (7.0 on economic freedom index vs. a 6.8 global average)

In summary the writers found that since communism fell:

Life for everyday people has improved dramatically across the former Eastern bloc.



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