September, 2004

What Failure? The Czech Republic 13 Years Later

  • Scott Beaulier

    Academic Dean, College of Business at North Dakota State University
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This working paper will focus solely on the Czech transition from communism. In the analysis that follows, Professor Beaulier combines information from Czech historical sources, popular media outlets, and original data gathered from fieldwork conducted in the summer of 2002 and 2003. His field evidence draws on more than 25 interviews with former officials in the Klaus administration, Czech businessmen, current government officials, and ordinary Czech citizens. The interviews were conducted during July of 2002 and July of 2003. Beaulier conducted all of his interviews face to face in Prague, Czech Republic. This analysis will attempt to set the record straight on the Czech transition to a capitalist economy. The Czech transition should be regarded as a great success and an amazing achievement of "market fundamentalism." That is not to say that the transition period in the Czech Republic was completely smooth and painless. Problems of corruption, legal ambiguities, and regulatory incompetence, both during the early transition period and currently, continue to be the most commonly talked about political/economic issues in the Czech Republic. But, if one follows Dlouhy’s advice and actually takes a look at the remarkable economic and social progress that has already been made, one is forced to reconsider the notion that the reforms have failed.