Policy Forum

Liberalism, Authoritarianism, and Good and Bad Transitions

November 15, 2019 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST

F.A. Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Featuring Leszek Balcerowicz, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Poland; moderated by Ian Vasquez, Director, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.

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Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the transition experience of ex‐​socialist countries toward the market has been varied, with cases of successful economic and political reforms and cases of reform failure. Leszek Balcerowicz will explain how free‐​market economies based on the rule of law perform incomparably better than centrally planned economies, but, as he will also point out, that they can be undermined by constant pressure from illiberal interest groups, as is the case in many overregulated or fiscally fragile Western countries. Drawing from these experiences, he will discuss how various institutional regimes produce good and bad transitions, including more‐​recent ones toward authoritarianism.