Share Tweet Pocket Add to Bookmarks
You're reading: Balcerowicz: Ukraine scores own goal

Why, two decades after communism ended and Ukraine gained its independence, does the country remain mired in economic torpor and an authoritarian politics that has aroused such ire in Europe? When a country like Ukraine develops slowly and remains poor, it is not because of natural disaster or resource constraints. Bad policies pursued by bad governments are to blame.

Contrary to what many Western economists think, the worst economic breakdowns are not the result of free markets gone haywire, but of excessive concentration of political power. To insure against the worst human and economic catastrophes, limits to political power must be introduced and a system of checks and balances maintained.

Witness the divergence in long-run economic growth between the Euro 2012 co-hosts. Poland’s GDP has almost doubled over the last 20 years, while Ukraine is still barely maintaining the output level recorded during the last year of socialism. Generally speaking, Central and Eastern European countries have performed better economically than the ex-Soviet countries (with the exception of the Baltic states).

Exclusive article

Sign up or subscribe to view more articles.
See All Plans
Monthly plan
Get unlimited article access, anytime, anywhere.

Yearly plan
Access all the exclusive content on and the complete online archive.

Add comment

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

Add a picture
Choose file
Add a quote

Are you sure you want to delete your comment?


Are you sure you want to delete all user's comments?


Are you sure you want to unapprove user's comment?


Are you sure you want to move to spam user's comment?


Are you sure you want to move to trash user's comment?

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: