Lessons Learned from Transitions

The Challenge of Changing the Old Mindset

Presentation by
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov is the Coordinator of Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) in Sofia, Bulgaria. He joined CSD in 2002 and has since worked on various projects in two major …

The process of market transition in Eastern Europe has proven both unexpectedly easy and unexpectedly difficult. It was easy in a sense that no one thought this kind of transformation was possible even just a few years before it happened. Yet it has been difficult because building democratic and market institutions requires in-depth reforms and necessitates changing the old mindsets, which is a very difficult issue. One of the hard-to-overcome elements of the post-communist mindset has been the lack of personal responsibility and the expectation to be taken care of by the state. As a result, the transition to democratic market economy entailed the change in values toward making free choices – and toward taking responsibility for those choices.


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