ON-Lion Letter
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  A major advance in humanity's struggle for freedom, the collapse of communism has generally led to an increase in human well-being, with several ex-communist countries becoming free and prosperous.  The spread of liberty, however, has been uneven.  Many ex-communist countries lag behind, and some have even reverted to political repression and government control of the economy.

In September, the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity (CGLP) at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., convened a conference of prominent experts and reformers on "Freedom and Prosperity and Central and Eastern Europe:  20 Years After the Collapse of Communism." 

The conference addressed several questions:  Why have some countries more successfully moved toward democratic capitalism than others?  What can current and future reformers learn from early reform efforts?  How much have institutions and ideologies evolved, and to what extent do they explain the diversity of transition experiences?  What challenges do Central and Eastern European countries face as they integrate with the European Union?  What is the Russian model, and what influence does it exert in post-Soviet nations?  And how will the current financial crisis impact policy change in formerly communist countries?

Václav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, delivered the keynote address.  Panel participants included CGLP senior fellow Andrei Illarionov, former economic adviser to Vladimir Putin; Sarah E. Mendelson, director of the Human Rights and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Kakha Bendukidze, former Minister of the Economy and Reform Coordination for the Republic of Georgia.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports Cato's CGLP.
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