ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The First Country of Socialism

history and encourage public discussion on possible ways and means of moving forward: "Gorbachev and his advisers'', writes Davies, "'did not anticipate either the scope of the debate or its impact on society. But their commitment to glasnost led them to resist attempts to halt discussion or set narrow bounds to it" [Davies 1989]. That glasnost did succeed in hastening the pace of social and political reform in eastern Europe is not in dispute. But this, like most of Gorbachev's initiatives in other domains, was an unintended consequence of an entirely well-intentioned but ill-timed campaign for economic restructuring and social renewal. The Gorbachev reforms are a good illustration of good intentions being overtaken by bad' events, i e. they illustrate the futility of translating desirable objectives without either a coherent design or adequate mechanisms to implement them. The reform experiences of Hungary and China offer an excellent alternative contrast, 7 "If we put it in Marxist terms it is very difficulty see how the economic base determines the political superstructure. Rather on occasion, it is the tail which wags the dog as it were. All in all, it is not very surprising that at times of major historical changes, public choice might be more mighty than elementary utility considerations. From the conversion rate of the Ostmark to the Hungarian legislation prohibiting foreigners to buy agricultural arable land (of all types), the predominance of extra-economic considerations is rather obvious" [Csaba 1992).

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