Western Governmental Assistance to Eastern Europe

The First Steps

by Steven W. Popper


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This Note prescribes a policy of aid to Eastern Europe from Western governments. The Note assesses Western assistance as an integrated effort coming from foundations, international agencies, and private commercial interests, as well as from governments. The author recommends that Western governments leave the lead role for initial stabilization to international bodies like the International Monetary Fund. He suggests that private Western capital can provide substantial financial inputs, aid privatization, and offer technical assistance. However, large-scale assistance could delay fundamental transformation. Immediate Western assistance should be aimed at persuading the people of Eastern Europe that democracy will serve their long-run interest better than the most enlightened dictatorship. Even the early-assistance programs should avoid the creation of new bureaucratic structures, should train the trainers, and should project a strong predisposition to long-term relationships rather than short-term consultancies. The U.S. Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act serves as a model for immediate action by Western governments. These governments should stimulate private initiatives, facilitate contacts between their citizens and those of Eastern Europe, provide expertise on the construction and rehabilitation of institutions, and help build the skills needed for the transition to market systems.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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