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Three Decades After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

As the data show, all the former socialist economies in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia have strengthened their market features since the fall of the Iron Curtain. This sizeable and wide-spread transformation reflects the region’s wholehearted embrace of private property, the rule of law, entrepreneurship, free trade, foreign direct investment and globalisation.

Actually, in the last few decades, economic liberalisation has spread across the former socialist region at a higher pace than in the world, with the average degree of market liberalism in the former socialist economies increasing from 5.47 in 1995 to 7.20 in 2017, while the average level of economic freedom in the world went from 6.06 in 1995 to 6.59 in 2017.

The notable transition of the former socialist economies is also reflected in the fact that while in 1995 none of them ranked in the top economic freedom quartile, when in 2017 ten of them (Georgia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Armenia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and the Slovak Republic) were in the top quartile. By contrast, only two countries (Tajikistan and Ukraine) rank in the fourth quartile of economic freedom, while in 1995, six (Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Tajikistan and Ukraine) out of fourteen former socialist countries ranked in the fourth quartile.