Wirtschaftssysteme in West- und Ostmitteleuropa

Gernot Gutmann


While after 1945 in the states of East Central Europe the economic Systems have been formed according to the Soviet pattern, the development in West Central Europe was characterized by the establishment of market economies. Germany is the best example for the diverging of the economic Systems in West and East Central Europe.
Here the division of Germany took place by the creation of the two specific order structures of a centrally planned economy of the Soviet type in the East and a social market economy in the West.
Due to the diverging of the economic system in West and East Central Europe, economic development took different courses as well. Functional problems of the Systems in East Central Europe become manifest in their economic backwardness compared with the Western countries as regards important economic indicators.
Difficulties in gathering relevant information and in motivating economic activities - the central problems of Eastern economic Systems - led to a number of reformatory attempts which entailed the divergence of the economic Systems even within East Central Europe because of different timing and different conceptions. The latest reformatory process in the U.S.S.R. seems to intensify this development, for till now the reactions in the states of East Central Europe turn out to be very differentiated. At the same time, this process of diverging of the economic Systems in East Central Europe may be interpreted as the beginning of a rapprochement of the economic Systems in East and West Central Europe, since all present reformatory measures aim more or less at the establishment of structures of a market economy. There is still the danger of half-hearted reforms or their premature relinquishment, though, since the functional logic of market economies is inconsistent with Marxist values. Therefore the process of rapprochement of these economic Systems may cover a relatively long period and be connected with occasional setbacks. The tendency of rapprochement is supported by the detente in the relationship between COMECON and EC, which began in the course of "Perestrojka".