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SPP 268

Title: THE IMPACT OF A READY-MADE STATE:ADVANTAGES OF EAST GERMANS
 
Author: Professor Richard Rose and Dr Christian Haerpfer
 
Description: The thesis of this paper is that East Germans were relatively advantaged as a prosperous part of the Soviet bloc and since re-unification have remained so as citizens of a "ready-made state", an established democracy and a wealthy social market economy. The experience is unique and fundamentally different than in other post-Communist countries. The first section shows how East Germans were advantaged by comparison with other Communist bloc countries prior to 1990. In the second section, the impact of re-unification on West German as well as East German attitudes is examined. A significant number of West Germans feel less advantaged today than before, whereas the opposite is the case for East Germans. The third section highlights the absolute advantages of Austria; it has, like the Federal Republic, enjoyed the advantages of democracy and a market economy, but without the trauma of division and then re-unification. Relative advantages of East Germans, West German and Austrians cannot be explained by large-scale theories of political sociology, but are explicable but not predictable by the Machiavellian term fortuna and its opposite, calamita.

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