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In countries which are experiencing the process of transition from Communism to market economy, the single factor most directly responsible for failures has been the inability to create a working rule of law. The "occult tax" imposed by corruption produces much lower levels of domestic and foreign investment than in less corrupt countries. The error of westerners has been to fail to grasp or to underestimate the problem of the creation of the rule of law. Today it is necessary to learn from the lesson of the past and rigidly link any granting of economic aid to the adoption of "healthy" policies. Albeit failing to eliminate corruption in the countries undergoing transition, western governments and private players can make it less costly and reward proper conduct handsomely.