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Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese
The paper considers the crisis of the socialist regimes of central and eastern Europe. The failure of socialist economies began early on, as is demonstrated by the high number of people who emigrated from them – or at least tried to do so. After a brief review of the changes in economic policy in western Europe from the end of the Second World War up to the present day, the author argues that policies of labour market regulation are to blame today for immigration barriers in western European countries. He then shows how the liberal idea of freedom of migration has progressively become extraneous to the ideology prevailing in the West. At the same time, for fear that liberalisation of the economy in the East might create problems of competition to their own highly regulated economies, these same countries are now seeking to make the former communist states follow a social democratic as opposed to liberal model. The author believes that a decisive challenge to the implementation of the centralist, dirigiste model in the East will come from secessionist movements. The disgregation of national states and the springing up of entities of smaller dimensions, all competing against one another, provides an opportunity both for economic development and for the development of liberal political institutions. Contrary to what the supporters of political centralisation believe, a high degree of political decentralisation is perfectly compatible with a high degree of economic integration.