Or at least, so says an informal, unscientific (and thus at least partially worthless, but still interesting) survey of people in four countries transitioning to a market economy that I conducted last month.
Most people in China, Uzbekistan and Russia seem to be glad that they’ve got communism in their rear view mirror, while the Kyrgyz, who lack a big money natural resource, seem to wish they could turn back the clock. However, people in all four countries are nostalgic for the way people used to treat each other during communist times. Many folks I talked to reminisced about sharing bread, oil and supplies with neighbors and feeling as if everyone really were in it together. Often, I heard people say with disgust that everyone is out for him or herself.
Even if this survey were scientific, I don’t think there are any important policy conclusions to draw from this information. It’s interesting nonetheless.
— Scott Paul