A Speech I gave over 19 years ago…

Still reads well: “Why Socialism Collapsed in Eastern Europe

(I gave it as a lecture at a Cato University summer seminar on political economy in California during the summer of 1990, after having spent a good bit of 1989 and 1990 in Central and Eastern Europe.)

Tags: , ,

5 Responses to “A Speech I gave over 19 years ago…”

  1. Tom G. Palmer

    You are absolutely right about the role of the church. I addressed it in other papers and talks (not sure where they are now!), but for some reason not in this. But yes, that is quite clear.

  2. Tom G. Palmer

    No, sir. This is the transcript of a talk I gave at the Cato Institute Summer Seminar in Political Economy in the summer of 1990. I recall the talk at NYU. I’m sure I said a lot of the same things there. (And I hope that I discussed the role of the Pope in Poland! I think I did for this one, too, but maybe during Q&A. It really kept civil society alive in Poland. Another positive factor I used to mention was the important role of George Soros in personally funding non-state organizations in Hungary and other countries; it had a real impact. He gave more money to the arts in Hungary than all levels of the Hungarian state. And that really multiplied his positive impact. Many people have been critical of Soros, and often for good reasons, but we owe him a great debt for his role in preparing civil society for the collapse of the Soviet empire, as well as for paying $100 million of his own money to hire Soviet nuclear weapons designers who were brilliant, but destitute, to do reearch on physics matters, thus giving them an alternative to working for Libya or North Korea or Iran in order to feed their families. Thank you, Mr. Soros, for possibly averting a catastrophe! In the New Republic in the early 1990s I responded to a really nasty review from Robert Reich of Soros’s book, with which I had other problems; I pointed out that [note implicit premise: whereas Reich hadn’t done a damn thing to help his fellow humans, to overthrow tyranny, or to prevent nuclear war] Soros had done a great deal, and we should remember that.)

  3. I attended your NYU talk & I enjoyed hearing it, although I confess I now can’t remember exactly what you said.

    You’re exactly right about Soros. In addition, his Central European University and his placing of western educators in East European universities did a great deal to promote free markets. I’ve met a number of people who benefited.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>