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Memoirs of a (Highly) Political Economist

Jan Winiecki

These memoirs portray an individual coping with the adversities and surrealistic qualities of life and work under communism. The author recollects his adolescence, next, how he tried to avoid head-on conflicts, dissented, and how he finally became a known critic of the system. As such, he belonged to a group of advisers to the underground «Solidarity» leadership. His memoirs help to understand the collapse of the communist system and the stormy period of systemic change from a personal perspective. The author participated in these changes as an already well known Sovietologist, as well as through his own on- and off involvements in post-communist transition politics, participating in various advisory bodies (including that advising President Walesa).
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Postscript: Looking Back, Looking Forward


This is not yet another piece of my memoirs, but rather some considerations on the issues that emerged from the memoirs. There is not much that can be added to my considerations of communism, communist system, centrally planned and administered economy, etc. Except, may be, for one reflection, linking the past with the momentous change taking place since 1989–91. Namely, countries of East-Central and Eastern (including Southern) Europe underwent two major systemic changes in less than one century! First they lived through the forced imposition of a communist system and later they lived – and some are still living – under the largely voluntary departure, or departures, from communism.

One way or another, the region in question, that is East-Central and Eastern (including Southern) Europe may be looked at as an incomparable historical laboratory of institutional, political and economic change. Studying and writing about the changes in question has been a fascinating endeavor. At least it was such for this author.

However, even if writing about systemic change has been a fascinating endeavor, writing polemically about those who tried – and keep trying – to rewrite the history in question is treated by me as an intellectual duty to defend the reality of transition against often tendentious distortions of that reality. Thus, I decided to actively react in this postscript to the three waves of unreason that could have been observed in the transition and post-transition period:

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